Letters to Andrew: "Finding Stability in the Music Business"

Message: Andrew Wasson! First, I love your youtube channel and your lessons are inspiring, informative, and simply awesome!

My name is Trevor, I've been playing guitar for about a decade and have got myself into quite a predicament.I play with Three and a half groups right now 3 gig, one is still a project and work 30-40 hours a week at a restaurant.

I want music to be my main source of income and hope to make it a lifelong career. With that being said, I still have to work at the restaurant to pay the bills and find myself being less than completely dedicated to my true craft.

So, This is my problem How can I find students quick, become an awesome teacher, and find financial stability for myself in the Music Business. Its probably the holy grail of all questions, but I have been reading your page and feel that you might be able to provide some tips and tricks on the matter.

Always Shedding,
Trevor - Charlottesville, VA. USA

Answer: Hello Trevor, Thanks for your email. Unfortunately gaining a footing (in most any industry) takes quite awhile. Take my YouTube channel for instance... I started making videos in 2008, and its really only this year that its 'sort-of' starting to pay back. That's over 400 videos later and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work. So, that's 7 years.

On the other-side, (my in-studio work) was something that started for me in 1987. I took a break for a few years and went to California to attend Musicians Institute. Then, I kicked back into it again in 1992. It took about 3 years to get myself established....

But, over the last 14 years, the world's economy has been in total decline. It seems that the rich are getting fabulously richer and the middle-class is disappearing! This is causing a terrible situation upon the working musician, since we are, and we depend largely, upon the middle-class.

So, I wish I had a good reply for you, but really the best advice I can suggest is to be the best player you can be. And, do your best to make a solid name for yourself. Be polite, kind, and try to always put forward a great attitude. People will always have good things to say about you, and you'll be called back a lot more.

Shoot for money goals that are realistic as well. saying that you want to make $10,000 a month by Jan. 2015, might be a little crazy. So, be realistic. And, track your progress with a 'year at a glance' calendar. Write a lot down too, (on paper with a pencil).

On a final note, keep yourself as healthy as possible. Its really hard to play gigs if your sick all the time. Make health a massive priority in your life. Musicians don't get sick days, paid vacation or have any health plans! Being sick is one of the worst things we might encounter.

One last thing. This business feeds on a lot of peoples negative side. So, never be concerned with what anyone else is doing. Not others success, nor their failures. Just focus on what your plans and dreams are. The dreams /goals you have will cross-over with others, but will never become anyone else's for the long-term. I hope this helps you. All the very best and thanks again for being a viewer and web-site supporter of mine. Take care and much success.

Andrew Wasson
Creative Guitar Studio

College Music Courses Go Kooky!

It would seem that there are more kooky college music courses being offered than ever - most we could probably do without...

(sarcasm on)... Have you simply had enough of learning about; music theory, scales, chord construction and improvisation? Of course you have! Besides, in today's world of computer generated synth-loops and drum-machine algorithms who needs that boring compositional junk anyway.

Well, you'll be glad to know that arts professors have been working with furrowed brow to help you move into the next level of high-quality musicianship by dreaming up incredible new music courses to move you & your skills into the next musical century... (sarcasm off).

Enter, Skidmore College,  in Saratoga Springs, New York. They are the latest liberal arts school that will be offering an entire class dedicated to the study of whacky American pop stars... their course is on none other than pop queen of twerking - Miley Cyrus!

'The Sociology Of Miley Cyrus' is being taught by Professor Carolyn Chernoff and will focus on Miley’s transition from “a Disney tween... to global drug-addict /twerking machine.”

Students will study topics such as; gender stratification, hyper-commodification of childhood, transitions to adulthood, allies and appropriation, bisexuality, queerness, and the female body!That's right... no modes, harmonic minor or pitch-axis theory whatsoever here!!!

Check out the official flyer for the class (below)!

What will be the next college music course! Why not let students MAJOR in Miley!

And, if Miz Cyrus doesn’t offer the kind of curriculum you’re looking for, then maybe applying to Rutgers and taking the BeyoncĂ© course would be more in tune with your musical studies!That one not for you? Then how about, "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame", at the University of South Carolina!

Top 10 Tips: How I "Made It" in the Music Industry


by Kellee Maize - Courtesy of Huffington Post Entertainment 

First off, by "Made It," I don't mean filling up arenas or the sort of unlimited abundance that could "make it rain" everyday. I mean making music a full-time focus that pays bills, so that you can start doing what you love.

With all of this talk about Female Hip Hop Artists failing in the music industry and less and less female rappers being signed, I have been inspired to write this article and share what worked and what didn't ... and a LOT didn't. I'm still applying these new discoveries myself and learning everyday from them, so I can make no guarantees, but my hope is that this helps a next generation of conscious artists trying to let their voices be heard.


This entire process will have a spiraling exponential effect. The more fans you get, the more fans you will get. Here it is, again:

1. Make music
2. Give it away for free using a CC license
3. Free music = new fans
4. New fans will reach out via social media and engage, be grateful and love them!
5. Collect emails from your fans
6. Make more music and give it away for free
7. Email your current fans and ask them to share it
8. Free new music + Current fans sharing that music = more new fans
9. Repeat 1 through 8 over and over again.
10. Magical things will happen
  • Blogs will start posting your music
  • People will want to book you
  • Your mp3 sales will start to appear
  • You will get licensing opportunities
  • Brands that align with you and your music will want to help you


VIDEO: 8-Year-Old Girl Covers Paul Gilberts "Scarified"

We thought we'd share this late-2013 video of an 8-year-old girl named Li-Sa-X covering none other than Paul Gilbert.

Below, watch her perform an instrumental Racer X tune called "Scarified." The track originally appeared on Racer X's 1987 album, Second Heat, and was written by Gilbert and Scott Travis.

No, it's not perfect, but it's impressive for an 8-year-old (or a 48-year-old)!

Below Li-Sa-X's video — for a bit of context — we've included a video of Gilbert performing the song.


Kiss Finally Get the Cover of Rolling Stone

You wanted the best? It took a while, but you got the best: Forty years after the release of their debut album, Kiss have finally made the cover of Rolling Stone. Marking the band's upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the cover image is a classic 1975 photo of the band's original lineup: Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, plus Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, who were both gone from the band by the early Eighties.

The cover story, by Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt, tells the sad, hilarious and triumphant story of one of the biggest rock bands ever, taking an in-depth look at the founding members' lives and careers. Hiatt hung out with all four original members in their homes (in San Diego, Beverly Hills and Monmouth County, New Jersey) where they shared fond memories and, inevitably, some intense backbiting. "I keep thinking about Ace and Peter," Simmons admits. “"What are they doing now? Where are they?’ It’s gotta be close to the end. How do you make any money? How do you pay your bills?"

Even Stanley and Simmons have had their differences. "We've always seen each other as brothers," says Stanley. "What we seem to be at odds at is how you treat your brother. Gene’s priority, by far, has always been himself. And he’s not one to let anyone else’s feelings or contributions get in the way."

They also explain precisely why they won't be reuniting for a performance at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Stanley and Simmons offered to allow the former members to jam with Kiss' current lineup, featuring guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, but Ace and Peter found that proposition deeply insulting. "I won’t be disrespected," Criss says. "How can you put me in the Hall of Fame and then tell me to go sit over there in the corner while another guy puts on my makeup and plays? That’s an injustice. To the fans, too."


Guitar Songs Played With A Capo

Musicians started noticing the capo's inherent sound-sweetening properties in the early 17th century, when primitive versions of the handy accessory were employed to raise the pitch of a host of fretted instruments.

The point of a capo is, of course, to be able to perform a song in a different key while using the same fingerings and chord formations you'd use in an open position. This enables performers to stick to positions they're more comfortable with and to enjoy all the benefits — including ringing, open strings — high up on the neck.

Capos also facilitate or create alternate chord voicings and help performers accentuate certain melody lines in a song. Of course, the higher up the neck you go with a capo, the more you change the voicing of the guitar — to the point that you can even imitate a mandolin, as demonstrated by music editor Jimmy Brown (our own "Capo Crusader") in the upcoming May 2014 issue of Guitar World (which you can check out here).

Former Eagle Don Felder says it best in the top video below, which he created for Guitar World in 2012:

"When I originally wrote ['Hotel California'], it was in the key of E minor, which is a really great guitar key to play in and write in. We recorded the whole track in E minor, and then Don Henley went out and tried singing it ... and it was way too high for him ... . So I took a guitar, went out in the studio and said, 'OK, let's move it down to D minor.' Still too high ... C minor, a little bit too high; A minor; no, that's too low. It wound up being in the key of B minor, which is on the seventh fret."


Chap-hop: The Musical Genre?

Chap-hop: the musical genre that's straight outta Kensington... 

It's an ironic and anachronistically British take on rap – and if that's not enough to put you off, it turns out that Michael Gove is not only a big fan, but a gentleman rhymer himself.

What is: Chap-hop...

Appearance: Michael Gove in a backwards-facing baseball cap, arrhythmically nodding his head with an exaggerated overbite, in hell, for-ever.

Whoa. That's the single worst mental image anyone has ever put inside my head. Well get used to it. Because chap-hop is Michael Gove's favourite genre of music.

Hideous. What is it? It's rap, but performed by the sort of person who reads The Chap magazine.

Waxed moustaches? Bowler hats? Exactly. Chap‑hop artists rap politely about anachronistic British stereotypes in received pronunciation, often while smoking pipes and playing the banjolele.

It sounds like music for people who hate music. Spot on. And, just to reiterate, this is the education secretary's favourite type of music. He probably dances to it. Alone. In his underwear.

Right, forget what I said earlier. That's the single worst mental image anyone has put inside my head. Sorry. Gove told The Mail on Sunday: "I have a soft spot for contemporary English 'eccentric' music. [I] am strangely addicted to chap-hop rappers Professor Elemental, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and Mr Bruce and the Correspondents."

I've never heard of any of these people. Well, allow me to fill you in. Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer is thought to be the inventor of chap-hop. His albums include OG Original Gentleman, The Tweed Album and, somewhat regrettably, I Say.

Isn't this just Gordon Brown claiming to like Arctic Monkeys all over again. Well, I don't really know quite how to break this to you, but …

He isn't … He is.

Michael Gove is also a gentleman rhymer? Oh God, say it isn't so. Unfortunately Kirstie Allsopp witnessed Gove take the mic, so to speak, at a dinner party. "I was rapping," admitted Gove, "in praise of Toby Young, whose West London Free School has just been ranked by Ofsted as having outstanding features."

Of course, why not? According to Allsop, he was "very entertaining".

Michael Gove doing ironic posh rap at a dinner party while Kirsty Allsopp laughs and claps. Why must you plague me with so many hideous thoughts? I apologise. I'll stop now.

Do say: "Fight the power."

Don't say: "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Vote Us In."

Plain And Simple Guide To Music Publishing...

On April 4, the Hal Leonard Corporation will publish the third edition of Randall Wixen's hugely popular and widely praised book, The Plain And Simple Guide To Music Publishing. Pre-order HERE.

What is already regarded as the definitive publication on the ever-changing music industry landscape, the book has been updated to address new topics such as the value of music (how and why streaming yields so little income to content creators), monetizing YouTube, the difficulty of calculating and verifying new statutory streaming rates, access vs. ownership models, locker/cloud storage and more.

Before publishing the first edition of The Plain And Simple Guide To Music Publishing, Wixen established himself as one of the most respected names in the music industry, founding of Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. in Los Angeles. With a sister company, Wixen Music UK Ltd. in London, the companies administer the song catalogs of artists such as George Harrison, The Doors, Neil Young, Tom Petty, The Black Keys, Andrew Bird and Fitz & The Tantrums.

The third edition of The Plain And Simple Guide To Music Publishing can be pre ordered at this link. Chapter 1 is presented below with a foreword by Tom Petty.


Is the Vinyl LP on it's Way Back?

by Mario Aguilar - courtesy of GIZMODO

So, is Vinyl the Only Worthwhile Way to Own Music?

The renaissance of the long play record may not be just an anecdotal trend. Even as physical CD sales decline, people are actually buying more vinyl than they have in decades. In 2013, vinyl sales increased 31-percent to about 6 million units year-over-year. It's not a single-year bump either, either. Sales have climbed to 6 million from after having been at about a million in 2007.

The "why" behind it, though, is a little more elusive. 

People don't have to buy vinyl, and yet, they're increasingly choosing to do so. It seems that in a world where CDs are becoming obsolete, and digital files are intangible, the vinyl record still has a physical value that gives you your money's worth. If the music industry wants to survive, it perhaps should pay attention to why people are buying vinyl LP records.

In 2014, there is no good reason for most people to buy music. There's a moral argument about how we should support the artists, blah blah blah, they have families to feed, yadda, yadda, but the reality is that you're never going to force people to spend money if they don't have to. Today, there's just no practical way to force people to buy music.

An overwhelming percentage of digital music files provide much worse sound quality than CDs, and people are choosing crappy digital anyway. It's possible to rip and uncompressed version of the music stored on a CD, but when most people rip their discs into iTunes, they choose to use one of many "lossy" compression formats because CD quality rips take up 7.5 times more space than a high-quality MP3. (Subscription music services offer roughly equivalent audio quality to a good MP3.) Most people don't care about the difference enough to trump the fact that scaling back audio quality lets you carry around 7.5 times more music and listen to it conveniently.

To turn to vinyl, then, I don't buy the argument that the format is seeing a resurgence because people think it sounds better. There's an ongoing debate amongst audiophiles and scientists regarding the audio quality of digital vs analog music playback. Audiophiles claim that analog playback sounds better, even though this is scientifically untrue. According to science, a CD and a vinyl record being pulled from the same original material are mathematically identical.

Without going to far into it, suffice it to say that the 44.1 kHz/16-bit CD-quality spec isn't random—it's based on sampling theory, which proves that given that the highest frequency you can here is 20,000 Hz, using a higher sampling rate or resolution is mathematically inconsequential.

The people who actually care about the experience of ownership are increasingly turning back to vinyl because it gives you a physical experience that's more fulfilling than a simple CD purchase. There are a few reasons this might be the case, but it all boils down to experience: a warm and fuzzy happy feeling you get from buying and playing LPs that you just can't get from any other source.

Vinyl has always offered a more intimate experience. The large format feels more substantial and turns the design of the cover and the inserts into satisfying artworks in their own right in a way that a CD never could. There's something wonderfully interactive about putting on a record, listening to a side, and then flipping it over to hear the other side. It makes the listening experience something in which you are constantly physically and emotionally involved. It's social, and fun... a far cry from the passive aural experience of CDs or streaming digital.

As for the sound of vinyl, let's return to the sound of the scratching record. I remember my father, a lifelong music collector, was puzzled when I first got into vinyl in high school. He'd been an early adopter of CDs because they did away with the interference of scratch. But scratch isn't a negative; it adds texture and warmth. Some musicians go so far as to add it to digital recordings to give them "character."

Vinyl can be fragile, yes, among other imperfections. But those end up being part of its charm. Older records warp, needles wobble on their surface and skip over scratches. This is also turns records into nostalgia factories. I love the hand-me-down first pressing of Sticky Fingers my godfather gave me. What am I gonna give my kids? A flash drive? The password to my Dropbox?

Vinyl's fatal flaw, and the reason that the format lost to cassettes and later CDs, is that you can't take it with you. It's impractical.

But today, you don't have to have it just one way. Vinyl record purchases come with codes which allow you to download digital versions of the music on-board. I've bought about a dozen new release vinyls in the last two years, and every single one came with a free download. A survey of a few different record labels confirm that vinyls all seem to come with a free digital version. What's more, thanks to Amazon's Autorip service, you'll get an MP3 with your vinyl through that store as well. You really can take it with you. The future of music is selling an experience.

Music executives hate digital. Once upon a time, they could sell you a piece of plastic at an exorbitant markup, and people paid. Of course they did! People can't live without music. People fall in love with songs and want to listen to them over and over again, and the most convenient way to do that for a long time was to buy the music. Sure, you could copy tapes, and later CDs, but nothing ever really cut into music sales until the MP3 and broadband internet connections made it so that people didn't have to.

Now that buying music is a choice, the people in every part of the music industry need to pay attention to the people who are choosing to buy, even when they don't have to. How can they create a product that people want to spend money on? It's not enough to say that the musicians "deserve" to make money. You have to make a compelling argument. Vinyl does this to a certain extent, but even if vinyl sales keep growing they're never going to be enough.

I'm not claiming to have the answer, but it seems clear that if the business of recording and selling music is going to survive it's going to have to figure out how to encourage people to pay because they love it and it makes them happy—which is why people care about music in the first place.

Vinyl isn't just music. It's an experience. And one that's worth paying for.

Four Tips for Learning to Play Guitar Later in Life...

TRUE STORY: Grade 6 elementary class... An un-helpful music teacher asks everyone in the class to step forward and sing three notes, relegating anyone who wasn't good enough to the back of the class to work on their homework. That's where those students remained... for the rest of the year, while the other students enjoyed the actual music lessons.

I would imagine, that at least one of those students relegated to the rear of the classroom dreamed of learning the guitar, but they never thought it would be possible for a "non-musical" person like them.

Fortunately, for a few of them, the longing to play guitar never went away, and some finally decided to go for it. They go out and purchase the shiniest guitar in the music store, and start to try to learn. Of course, they are rubbish – at first. But, if they can stick to it, find the right help and study for awhile, years later, they'll slowly get better, and most importantly they'll enjoy it.

One benefit of taking it up when you're older is that you feel more committed. As Tim Walker, guitar professor at the Royal Academy of Music, says: "Starting later means you understand the importance of patience and perseverance, and to stick at it as a result."

Of course there are a few simple things you can do as quickly as possible to make the learning process much easier and far more more enjoyable. Here's some solid advice.

1). Buy yourself a good quality guitar:
Everyone will (rightly) say it's about the music and not the machine, but I don't think there's anything wrong with investing dearly in your guitar – lots of musicians do. Plus, once you've spent that money, it's a great catalyst to really work hard at it. Research online, but also go to your local music shop and test some out. If you know nothing, take along someone who already plays well for help. In the end, choose one that feels very comfortable to hold, and make sure it is the right size for your hands. If you're wary of spending money right away, try to borrow one from a friend before taking the plunge. Don't be tempted by cheap guitars in charity shops, and don't get one from eBay – my advice is to only ever buy a guitar you have played. Learn how to tune it properly, using a proper,  "Guitar Tuner," and NOT a chromatic tuner, (guitar tuners like the Korg GA1 Guitar and Bass tuner are available in all good music shops).

2). Find a great guitar teacher:
Most students will go through a few  teachers over the years, some of whom will even become friends, as well as, mentors. Good guitar teachers are good, because they don't come with a template for the lessons. Instead, they will listen to what you want to do, and then tailor the lessons to the music you like (acoustic finger-picking blues, funk, country, or Metallica - whatever you want). Good teachers are friendly, smart, knowledgeable, educated and should REALLY know their stuff. Plus, they should be full of tips, and strategies for the first week and well down the time you're with them, (even if that's 4 or 5 years down the road).

Walker says: "This will be someone who understands what it is you want to do, who is demanding to a certain degree but also wants you to enjoy fulfilling your potential. As an adult student you should know yourself well enough to feel confident about which direction you'd like to go in."

3). Study theory, songs, technique and styles:
There is a difference between playing and studying guitar. When you just play, you fall back into familiar grooves and rarely push yourself. Proper study and solid practice takes you to the next level, and even if you only do 10 - 25 minutes a day of challenging exercises and songs the benefits can be quite profound.

Most people tend to play for up to an hour each day. Half of their time will be spent on exercises – scales, working at a specific section of a new tune – and half revising pieces that they already know and don't want to forget. Aim to learn a single song by heart roughly every month, and make yourself work through that one song all the way to the end.Nail down the feel, timing, flow and phrasing, (including the guitar techniques involved).

"You can practice for less time if it's done mindfully," says Walker. "Half an hour of concentrated work will be much more productive than two hours of haphazard playing."

Economize your time by using a stop-watch, (there's also the Online Stop-watch). Work on several topics for short time frames, (2 - 3 min.). Take breaks after approx. 15 min. And, keep a study schedule that tracks your progress through a week. Keep in mind that the short time frames will give you the memory skills. Once they're in place, turn on a metronome, (there's also the Metronome Online).

4). Push yourself
When you start out, decide on what your initial goals are. How many chords do you want to know in the first month? Are there a few simple common pieces that interest you? Can you find a basic guitar course that will start teaching you the basics? Then, reach for more complex goals over time... Do you want to play in public? Write your own songs? Learn a particularly difficult piece of music? Once you know what you want, you can set yourself challenges that are simple and easy to achieve and you can gear your lessons with your teacher towards achieving your aims. But, be sure to keep the goals simple and attainable. Lofty goals will generally never become a reality for you, so be realistic.

Most students over 30 years of age have no ambition to play in front of people, form a band or even take music theory exams. Their aim is simply to practice guitar every day for fun. It's not always easy, but if you have a weekly lesson with a good teacher, you'll probably stuck to it.

VIDEO: New "Tina S" Yngwie Cover!

Another impressive "Tina S" video has been posted on line... Tina S. is a 14 year old girl from France who is becoming more and more well known for her intricate guitar covers... Her latest is one of where she is performing a rendition of Yngwie Malmsteen's "Arpeggios From Hell."

Her YouTube channel also features blistering renditions of tracks by such guitar virtuosos as; Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and John Petrucci.

Check her YouTube channel out here.

Music Industry Blaming Japan & Google for Falling Sales...

According to the latest International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) report, music sales fell lower scoring a 3.9% decline in 2013.

The reason being cited behind the drop can be evidently traced directly to Japan, (a country described as somewhat as an anomaly due to still having a strong CDs market). However, the country's CD sales have declined by massive 16.7%, impacting global CD sales...

As the report further reads, 'the sales drop comes as a consequence of Japan market's refusal to adapt to streaming and download services. In the other parts of the world, Europe reported a music sales jump for the first time in 13 years, whereas US sales got lowered by 3.4%.'

The streaming industry did make some impressive leaps in the I.F.P.I, report, scoring a 50% growth and crossing the $1 billion sales mark for the first time. If Japan's sales decline was omitted, the global music industry has even managed to grow in 2013, although by only a mere 0.1%.

As the Telegraph reports, further blame from IFPI is falling at the feet of global internet search giant, Google (and their video service YouTube).

The IFPI is blaming Google for playing a crucial role in the recording industry's decline. According to chief executive of IFPI, Frances Moore, over 100 million requests were sent to Google in 2013, demanding the removal of links which were leading web traffic over to illegal music postings.

Moore noted that, "to be quite honest we didn't see much effect of those notices," adding that "we hope that Google will realize that it's in its own interest to do more, but we're yet to see that ... Google could do so much more."

No mention was made within the report of the overall; quality, musicianship, depth, and /or substance of the music being released by the recording industries, 'corporate giants.' 

The Beat-Buddy is Now Available for Pre-Order...

If you've ever wanted a fully functional drum-machine in the compact size of a foot pedal, then your search is over!

The Power of a Drum Machine, the Simplicity of a Pedal...

Convenient: Plugs right in with your other pedals to play a drum beat through your amp or PA. 
Hands-free control
  • Insert fills
  • Transition from verse to chorus
  • Add accent hits (e.g. cymbal crashes or hand claps)
  • Pause/unpause beats with second footswitch, while song is playing
  • Advance to next song with second footswitch, when no song is playing
Professional-grade sound
  • Meticulously sampled drums at full dynamic range
  • Advanced algorithms generate realistic natural beats

1.8" Color LCD display 

Pre-loaded with:
  • 10 unique drum sets
  • 200+ songs (verse/chorus beat progressions) in a wide range of musical styles
  • Computer software to load your own beats and drum sets

Adjust tempo with:
  • A turn of a knob
  • Tap tempo with a button or footswitch
MIDI Sync: Integrate with MIDI based loopers and effects in your rig.

Headphones Jack: For jamming without disturbing the neighbours!

Full stereo sound 

Beautiful strong construction made from anodized aluminum.

Built for tough live performance environments.

Connects with standard mini USB cable.

Expand memory with standard SD card.

Completely customizable with included computer interface software:
  • Load your own beats and drum sets
  • Uses standard MIDI and WAV files
  • Add additional song parts (verse, chorus, bridge, fills etc.)

New beats and drum sets to be available for download on regular basis.  We will be producing both free and premium content packages
User Forum on our site will allow all BeatBuddies to share their beats and drum sets!  The BeatBuddy is not just a pedal -- it's a platform.

1. Press pedal to start beat
2. Press again to add a fill. Different fills are played each time to create a live drummer sound
3. Hold pedal down to begin transition beat
4. Release pedal to end transition and go to next song part (e.g. verse to chorus)
5. Use footswitch (mono) to add accent hits. Accent hits are customized to the song part (e.g. hand claps for verse, cymbal crashes for chorus)
6. Use second footswitch (stereo) to pause/unpause beat.
7. Press pedal twice to stop beat with ending fill.


Recording Industry Rakes In Huge $$$ from Fan Videos...

The recording industry earns more from fan videos than from official music videos...

YouTube generates more money for the major record labels through fan-made videos than official music videos, a global recording industry report now says...

Silly fan-made videos such as “Good Looking Parents Sing Disney's Frozen (Love Is an Open Door)” by lip-synchers Sam and Nia, a current viral hit on YouTube, earns recording companies more money from advertising and royalties than official music videos do.

Remarkably the recording industry is making more money from fan-made mash-ups, lip-syncs and tributes on YouTube than from it's artist-official music videos.

It’s a massive growth area. We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos,” said Francis Keeling, the global head of digital business for Universal Music Group.

With one billion users worldwide, YouTube is the most used music service in the world, according to the annual Digital Music Report released Tuesday by IFPI, an organization that represents 1,300 record companies around the world.

All record companies make their repertoire available to YouTube,” Keeling explained.

The video website, owned by Google, tracks uploaded videos and alerts record companies when a YouTube user uploads content that uses a copyrighted song.

Rather than order the video removed for copyright infringement, the record company can instead choose to run ads before and during the video, making money off the video’s views.

For example, a video of American comedian Steve Kardynal wearing a bikini and lip-synching Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” for unsuspecting viewers on Chatroulette racked up more than 14 million views, which earned ad dollars for the record label behind Jepsen’s hit single.

User-generated content, which includes mashups and fan-made music videos, are actually generating more money for record labels than the official music videos posted by record labels, Keeling said.

A lot of that is due to consumers putting more and more repertoire and new versions up there, but also it’s YouTube getting better at advertising,” he said.

New advertising formats and an expansion of ads to more than 50 countries have increased the amount of money generated by ads on the video sharing site.

YouTube is expected to roll out a premium subscription service in 2014, providing another source of revenue, the IFPI report says.

That’s good news for the music industry, which saw a global decline in revenues of 3.9 per cent to about $15 billion (U.S.).

Streaming services such as YouTube are one of the key changes in the way the world is listening to music.

Online subscription services such as Rdio, Spotify and Deezer generated more than $1 billion in revenue in 2013, growing more than 50 per cent worldwide since last year.

Money generated by advertising-supported streaming services such as YouTube and Vevo grew 17 per cent.

Streaming services are helping to encourage more listeners to pay for music instead of pirate it. In 2013, 28 million people paid for subscription services, a dramatic increase from only eight million in 2010.

While music downloads through services like iTunes still make up two-thirds of the industry’s total digital revenues, they actually declined slightly in 2013.

Old-fashioned CDs and records aren’t dead just yet. Though global revenues from physical music sales declined last year, they still make up half of total revenues.

And in some countries, such as the U.S. and the U.K., sales of vinyl actually increased by as much as 100 per cent.

VIDEO: Rockin the Country w/Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney

This video is bonus content related to the April 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at their online store:


Joe Don Rooney:
This month, I'm going to talk about the title track from our Rascal Flatts' 2006 album, "Me and My Gang," and how inspiring it was for me to use an effect on it that made its main guitar riff really come to life and speak...literally!

As we were arranging the song, our producer, Dann Huff, suggested that I try using a Rocktron Banshee Talk Box (see image below) for the songs opening /main riff.

For those unfamiliar with it, a talk box is essentially a tiny amplifier that feeds the sound of your guitar (or any instrument plugged into it) through a plastic tube, the end of which you place in your mouth. As you play your instrument, you move your mouth to "shape" the signal coming from the tube, and the resulting vocalized sound is picked up by a vocal microphone.

Two of the most famous recorded examples of the talk box effect are Peter Frampton's live version of "Do You Feel Like We Do," featured on Frampton Comes Alive, and Joe Walsh's classic track "Rocky Mountain Way."

UK Government Bans Guitars Inside Prisons...

Tue 18 Mar 2014


Guitar playing prisoners have been ordered to return their electric and steel-stringed guitars after the Government recently banned them.

Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West (and a guitarist), questioned why the coalition had ordered the return of the guitars despite the potential benefits of music and guitars in rehabilitating offenders?

Mr Brennan said: "I don't know about you but I'm quite a big fan of the late Johnny Cash who performed in prisons and Billy Bragg who started the initiative Jail Guitar Doors to provide guitars to those using musical instruments as a means of rehabilitation in prison.

So why has the Government banned the use of most of these instruments by ordering prisoners to return steel-stringed and electric guitars?"

Responding to the query, Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said the specific reasons of why the guitars were banned were 'beyond his level of expertise' but said he would ensure the restrictions were appropriate.

What do you think? Was this appropriate? Should guitars be banned in prisons?

VIDEO: Nick Johnston Demos New Seymour Duncan Pickups...

Nick Johnston demonstrates Seymour Duncan Texas Hot Antiquity pickups...

Here’s a quick jam Nick Johnston put together using the new Texas Hot Antiquity pickups.

"This is one of the best sounding sets of true single coil pickups I have ever played. These can go from the purest S.R.V clean tone to the rip-you-face-off Yngwie lead tone. I use them with my Friedman BE100 for just about everything! I’ll likely be getting a few more sets of these to put in my other strats in the near future!"

GUITAR BLOG: Practicing Improvisation Naturally

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers questions from off of his Guitar Blog website...

Q). I'm on a guitar improvisation quest for getting more connected phrasing and better sounding resolutions in my playing. I keep reading through lessons that say I need to 'target' specific tones. And, that I need to 'phrase into the content' of the harmony. But, I keep thinking that there must be a basic way to do this naturally. Is there a practice approach that just applies the guitar and my ear?
Nick -- Cardiff, Wales, UK.

A). Every musician, regardless of their theory knowledge, begins their study of improvisation by simply making-up melodies. But, since melody experimentation is the first step, in order to make it to the second step, we need to expand the overall framework. This means we need to jam; with a backing track, with another musician, and we need to play with a looper pedal. But, in the early stages of this work, it will help a great deal to keep the content within the grasp of your kowledge of theory. In the beginning, work with very simple harmony concepts. Then as you get better, and gain more experience, expand to more complex jams. In this video, I'll use a looper pedal and demonstrate this using a collection of different jams, from simple 2-chord vamps to more involved harmonies using multiple chords from within a key.


Zakk Wylde's Gibson Les Paul Bullseye Stolen...

Zakk Wylde's famous Gibson Les Paul in Pelham Blue Bullseye finish has been stolen in the Chicago area... Yes, somebody was that stupid...

The guitar (pictured) was taken from Zakk's tour bus, along with a leather Black Label society vest during the Experience Hendrix show at the Chicago Theatre on March 14, and is finished in a Pelham Blue version of Zakk's distinctive Bullseye pattern, with gold hardware, block inlays and EMG pickups.

Zakk is asking anyone with information on the guitar's whereabouts to get in touch via his Twitter profile, @ZakkWyldeBLS.

VIDEO: Neil Young Discusses Where Music's Heading Now...

"Musicians are starved and music is under duress": So says none other than musical legend Neil Young, who claims himself to be "just another musician."

The latter fact is debatable -- Young, of course, has a pedigree which includes not one but two nominations into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- but the former is annually up for debate, given that Young is speaking at one of the country's biggest yearly music festivals, offering up artists who have yet to even have an idea of the scope Young and others on his musical level have brought to rock history.

In this exclusive interview, (shot during his time at South By Southwest 2014), the icon discusses with Yahoo Music a variety of musician's-musician topics, including the debate about the analog vs. digital format, his opinion of the music business and record labels (which may surprise you), some of his most-loved hits, on starting a new Music Format Distribution business (Pono) using crowd funding through Kickstarter, and the elusive "echo" that he says has all but disappeared from music.

VIDEO: Building the ESP "Ghost Soldier" Custom Guitar...

Back in November of 2013, the ESP Custom Shop went and posted a fascinating time-lapse video of one of their exceptionally unique guitar's — the "Ghost Soldier" — being built.

In the clip, you'll see the start-to-finish creation of the guitar in the ESP Custom Shop in Tokyo, Japan.

The "Ghost Soldier," which was created by master luthier Masao Ohmuro, shows off the detail and intricacy involved in a handmade ESP custom model. Follow this link to see a complete photo gallery.

The guitar is now available. Contact the ESP custom shop for more details. Link below.

For more about the ESP Custom Shop, visit espguitars.com.

In other ESP news, the company has announced that its new North Hollywood, California, factory will open in 2014. the factory, which will be company's first-ever US-based factory, will produce a new line of ESP USA guitars. This new brand will be added to ESP’s existing worldwide brands, including ESP, LTD and the new E-II series, also coming in 2014.


NEW LESSON: Blues Combination Scales

NEW VIDEO LESSON - Friday Mar. 14, 2014:

In order to get the most out of tomorrows lesson, I highly suggest reviewing a few of my older videos which I feel contain information that is important to understand prior to watching tomorrows, "Blues Combination Scales," lesson.

The play-list below has all of the suggested videos to review.

Billboard's Highest-earning Musicians List for 2013...

Taylor Swift continues to reign supreme in the music industry, as she's been named Billboard's highest-earning music artist...

In its annual Money Makers list, Billboard has selected Swift as its highest earning musical act, following the singer's banner year in 2013. The "I Knew You Were Trouble" singer placed at No. 15 on the list a year prior, which took into account the musician's 2012 earnings. Madonna was No. 1 previously, however she did not make the list in 2014.

The list takes into account an artist's main sources of music revenue, mainly from touring and both physical and digital music sales.

Check out a list of Billboard's top 10 highest-earning music artists below.

1. Taylor Swift - $39 million: Swift earned her spot atop the Billboard Money Makers list for 2014 thanks to her wildly successful fourth studio album, "Red." The album, which received several 2014 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year, spawned the hit singles "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "Begin Again," "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "22." The success of "Red" helped Swift amass nearly 10 million digital downloads. Additionally, Swift's "Red Tour" grossed an estimated $30 million in just six months of touring.

2. Kenny Chesney - $32 million: Sixteen albums into his career, Chesney remains one of the top earning country artists in the music industry today. He released the album "Life on a Rock" in 2013, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and contains the hit singles "Pirate Flag" and "When I See This Bar." In addition to the album, Chesney toured the country on his "No Shoes Nation" tour, which featured other acts such as Eric Church, Zac Brown Band and Kacey Musgraves. The tour grossed an estimated $90 million in 2013.

3. Justin Timberlake - $31 million: Timberlake made a major musical comeback in 2013 that fans waiting more than eight years for new music heavily embraced. With the release of his highly successful double album "The 20/20 Experience," Timberlake earned more than $5 million in album and digital track sales. Additionally, his joint tour with Jay Z, titled "Legends of the Summer," earned more than $60 million in just 14 shows. The "Suit & Tie" singer also embarked on his own headlining world tour in November 2013, which will continue through October 2014.

4. Bon Jovi - $29 million: Bon Jovi continues to remain one of the world's most successful touring music acts around. Their "Because We Can Tour" in 2013 grossed more than $200 million in sales worldwide, of which the band received an $83 million take of their own. The trek was also named the No. 1 top-grossing tour in 2013. Additionally, the band continues to rise in digital download and streaming royalties, only helped by the success of their 12th studio album "What About Now." The LP became the band's fifth album to peak atop the Billboard 200 albums chart.

5. The Rolling Stones - $26 million: They've been around since 1962, and The Rolling Stones have still got it. Thanks to high demand for the band, touring revenue for 2013 is estimated to be as much as $80 million for just 15 shows. The Stones were also said to sell out every show of their "50 & Counting Tour," which commemorates their 50th anniversary as a band. The group also released a compilation album in 2013, titled "GRRR!," selling more than 1.5 million digital track downloads.

6. Beyonce - $24 million: Beyonce may have surprised fans with an album seemingly out of the blue in December 2013, but the singer had also been touring extensively for much of the year. Her "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour" grossed more than $104 million over 132 tour dates, with $59 million in the United States alone. Beyonce, additionally, kept $19 million of the earnings for herself. Her surprise fifth studio album also accounted for 1.3 of her total 1.6 million in album sales in 2013. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with more than 617,000 in first week sales.

7. Maroon 5 - $22 million: The Los Angeles-based band reached new levels of success in 2013, following the release of the fourth studio album "Overexposed," and a little help on the publicity front from lead singer Adam Levine's role on NBC's "The Voice." The LP spawned the hit singles "Payphone," "One More Night," "Daylight" and "Love Somebody," all of which peaked within the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and garnered the group more than 7 million digital downloads. Additionally, the band toured extensively in 2013, completing their own "Overexposed Tour" in April 2013 and the joint "Honda Civic Tour" with Kelly Clarkson to a sold-out Los Angeles crowd in October 2013.

8. Luke Bryan - $22 million: Bryan made quite the splash on the country music scene in 2013, with the release of the wildly successful album "Crash My Party," featuring the hit single by the same name. In total, the singer sold more than 2.7 million album, more than 7.6 million digital tracks and earned a take of $15 million for his 2013 tour. Bryan's success in 2013 is only highlighted by his critical achievements as well, taking home the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards. He is nominated for the award again in 2014.

9. Pink - $20 million: In addition to being named Billboard's 2013 Woman of the Year, and being invited to perform at the 2014 Oscars, Pink has cemented herself as one of the most sought-after touring performers in pop music. The singer's "The Truth About Love Tour" earned her more than $15 million for just the U.S. portion of her global trek. Her sixth studio album, which is also titled "The Truth About Love," earned Pink her first ever No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spawned several hit singles, earning the singer more than 8 million digital downloads.

10. Fleetwood Mac - $19 million: The classic rock band, consisting of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, earned astronomical sales of their 2013 tour, taking home more than $17 million in just 34 shows. The group's success in 2013 was also due in part to the release of their first new material in more than a decade, "Extended Play."