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If the mastering step begins after mixing is done, but my song is not really “done” until it has been mastered, then how do I know when I’m done with mixing and ready to have my music mastered?

55 years ago today, the Rolling Stones released their “5×5” EP, the recording session in which they serendipitously met their blues idol, Muddy Waters.

Another key metric you can measure is your follower growth over time. This is important because when listeners follow you, your new releases will automatically show up in their personalized Release Radar playlist. They’ll also get email notifications about shows you’re playing in their city.

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Streaming platforms have long been a source of controversy because of how little they pay artists, but some offer other advantages. Spotify’s Artist Insights feature is a powerful analytics tool designed to help musicians understand who’s listening to their music the most over the platform. It tracks listener information like gender, age, location, and through what source someone discovered your music.

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However, from an opposing perspective, we could also raise the following question: What’s the point of building technological tools that merely mimic what we’d otherwise be able to do manually, or at least through existing musical technology (i.e., instruments)? Instead we should be pushing the envelope and introducing tools into our learning practice that expand our potential for expression and leave preconceived boundaries behind. Or, we should be looking to change our educational curriculums to incorporate software that opens up new worlds for students to dive into.

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Solution: Create criteria. One of the biggest mistakes ambitious musicians make is overbooking just for the sake of playing out. I constantly hear colleagues complaining about gigs their bandleaders probably shouldn’t have taken in the first place. A band member once made me promise I would only take gigs if I could answer “yes” to at least two of these questions: (1) Is it lucrative enough to ensure that no band member is losing money (including the pay they would sacrifice if they had to turn down another show because of this one)? (2) Will it give us real exposure or positively build the band’s identity? (3) Could it be the most fun we’ve had all year?

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John Entwistle almost didn’t make this list, by virtue of being, well, too good. There are so many great Who songs to choose from, but one melody that tends to stick in my head is the pentatonic major run heard behind the “I tip my hat” refrain in this song. The riff starts at the relative minor and runs down to the root, hitting all five notes of the scale. It’s a simple sequence, but I’ve noticed that scalar walk-downs to the root pretty much always sound good on the bass. (For example, check out the choruses of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Kiss’ “Shout It Out Loud”). Entwistle repeats this motif several times throughout the chorus with slight variations that keep it continually compelling.

“[This] might sound a bit subjective, but the most valuable thing I learned was how to be more sensible about the emotion that every type of chord can produce, and not only a single chord, but in the context of a chord progression by how each chord note moves to the next.”

Helene Berg knew of her husband’s love for Fuchs-Robettin, and it seems likely her attempts to scuttle the completion of Lulu were at least in part motivated by this. She died in 1976.

“Thank U, Next”: The sustain of that dreamy electric piano in this chord loop solidifies the G♭ chord as a G♭M13 and the F chord is an F7(#9) secondary dominant (V/vi )! Then we have a regular B♭m before returning to the tonic — but not so fast! We haven’t really returned home, since it’s a D♭7, another secondary dominant (V/IV) that sends us back to G♭M13. These secondary dominants act like coal nuggets to fuel a perpetual motion chord-loop machine. Form-wise, you could also call the chorus extensions “post-choruses,” but I already used up my “P” for the pre-chorus sections, so I’ll just call these extensions “variations” and be done with it.

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