December 2013

Top 10 Albums and Concerts of 2013 – Year End Roundup!


Our top 10 Albums of 2013 a.k.a. albums that were played non-stop over ones that just sound cool to list (we’re lookin’ at you Pitchfork!):

  1. The National – Trouble will Find Me
  2. Savages- Silence Yourself
  3. Tegan and Sara – Hearthrob
  4. Daughter – If You Leave
  5. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  6. Drake- Nothing was the Same
  7. M.I.A. – Matangi
  8. Shad – Flying Colours
  9. A Tribe Called Red- Nation to Nation
  10. Colin Stetson- New History Warfare Vol. 3

Best Concerts of 2013 – Lucky 13 

    1. Broken Social Scene Reunion – Field Trip Fest, Toronto
    2. Gaslight Anthem followed by 3 hours of the genius that is Robert Smith and The Cure, Osheaga Montreal
    3. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Ottawa Jazz Festival
    4. Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires – he hugged me- Ritual, Ottawa
    5. Colin Stetson – The Rialto, Montreal
    6. Patrick Watson and Braids- Q, Montreal
    7. Alt J w/ Lord Huron– Echo Beach, Toronto
    8. Ottawa Rock Lottery, Mavericks, Ottawa
    9. New Order, Osheaga, Montreal
    10. Stars, Ottawa Bluesfest
    11. Tegan and Sara, Ottawa Bluesfest
    12. Shad – Ritual, Ottawa
    13. Trust w/ Diana – Lee’s Palace, Toronto

Happy Holidays!

We got the best Christmas present early when a slew of our clients received grant approval last week, so no need Santa for you to pop by with that Easy Bake Oven we always wanted, we’re freakin’ happy!  Regular posts will return next week.

Christmas Greeting

*P.s. we’re working all through the holidays except for Christmas Day on some big projects for 2014 but as usual it can take us up to 1 week to reply to emails, even in our candy-cane-induced comas

8 Ways to Wish Your Fans Happy Holidays – Part 2

This blog is Part 2 of last week’s post on how to interact with and gain attention to your band over this holiday season.

If you don’t have time for a holiday cover song, these are your next best bets for optimal social media, fan connections and press coverage opportunities:

1.  Throw your band members in Santa hats and do an acoustic song of your own with well wishes at the end

2.  Make an excuse for an eggnog party this weekend and get all your friends and fans in reindeer ears.  Post photos with a hashtag (#) #holidayswXband – you can just grab a regular notebook for them to hold up with a bow on it.

3.  Perform a new song of yours with a Christmas-y background. e.g. Christmas tree, snowman outside

4.  Do a time-lapse video of a snowman melting with a new song of yours playing in the background

5.  Christmas sweater time!  I’d love to see a punk band throwing down in really Cosby-colourful sweaters

6.  Insert Santa, or some sort of holiday-reference into some of your lyrics.

Don’t have time for a song?

  1. Make a well-wish video to your fans that could literally just be Merry Christmas from X- band, I baked these cookies for you, oh sorry, you’re not here?  I’ll just eat them for you and mmm, they’re so good.  While you’re watching them you should go download our new album HERE.
  2. Release a special “Christmas present” to your fans through a new song made available for free

* All of these can be turned into band memes and hilarious instagrams that can re-direct your fans, potential promoters and agents to purchase your albums and re-direct to the website so DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE WEBSITE, DOWNLOAD LINKS and CONTACT INFO in ALL of your video uploads.


Why you should do a holiday cover song NOW

Christmas cover songs are a great way to build name-recognition and increase album sales if done correctly.  With all of the crappy pop-band covers that are no doubt infiltrating your shopping errands, why not put something out there that will resonate with your fans and be a fun way to remind people your band is still rockin’ around the Christmas tree this holiday?  Here’s why you can’t risk NOT putting something out there:

1.  Plenty of free public domain songs available.  (Full list here.)

2.  Wish your fans Happy Holidays and provide them with easily shareable content *think holiday video card

3.  Can get on local media (TV, Radio, blogs)

4.  New video content for your website, social media, potential agents

5.  The band that you cover, if you choose to do so, may see your cover and contact you

6.  Generate strong hit counts and possibly go viral

7.  Increase album sales by promoting your Itunes, bandcamp, whatevs, in Youtube info listings below

8.  Give exposure to an aspiring filmmaker.  I highly recommend the Southern Souls live-off the floor style.

CBC Radio 2 has this really cool segment I listen to almost every morning called, “Under the Covers” where songs are completely transformed by the performers.  You have control over how happy, sad, the tone, the softness, the everything.  MAKE IT YOUR OWN SONG.  And only try to cover a song that will make your other music look great alongside it. I mean, Justin Bieber became Justin Bieber by covering other people’s songs.

This Elwins Mariah Carey cover video is a great example of being able to draw in your audience, give them an idea of who the band is, how a band can make the song their own, and is just freakin’ adorable.  You don’t need the fancy editing/camera work, just make sure the sound is spot-on.

Here’s a more live-off the floor style of Christmas video via CBC

Nitty Gritty on Music Licensing and Publishing:

“Cover songs on YouTube are, almost universally, non-commercial in nature. They’re created by fans, mostly amateur musicians, with no negative impact on the market value of the original work. (If anything, it increases demand by acting as a free promotional vehicle for the track.)…

Copyright law was intended to foster creativity by making it safe for creators to exclusively capitalize on their work for a limited period of time. Cover songs on YouTube don’t threaten that ability, and may actually prevent new works by chilling talent that could go on to do great things.”  Full article HERE.  

As long as you’re not selling this song without paying the mechanical license and claiming as your own you’re ok.  Limelight, a partner of CD Baby is great for guiding you through this process if you are interested (Very informative link here.) 

Later this week as a special holiday-bonus for y’all, we’ll tell you how to be successful with holiday-THEMED songs.  


Lisztomania – The Importance of Being Organized as a Professional Artist

You’ve heard it before from the biggest names- Treat your band like you would a business.  I’m currently sitting here sending off invoices to clients and following up with little check marks in fancy table graphs for what grants have been applied to, whether the results have been made public, which officers to check in with for payment transfers and which clients have been sent a reminder email to pay the lady in red (me!).


I’ve always been one for making huge lists.  There’s literally stacks of notebooks around the YouRockRed office filled with them, but lists for bands are just as important.  Keeping a running list in Excel of where you’ve received press, what country, what outlet, a LINK (super important), date things were published- all of this has a HUGE impact on you.  Otherwise you’re combing through past Google Alerts (which if you don’t already have set up for your band STOP and do that RIGHT NOW!) trying to find that amazing review where the writer obviously was crushing hard on your live set.


Same goes for keeping a strict account record of ALL of your performances.  Don’t rely on your team to keep your Sonic Bids up!  You as an artist need to know exactly where you’ve performed.  There could be an incredible promoter you want to follow up with but if you’re doing 20+ dates how are you going to remember if all your press release says is that you played Thunder Bay?  You want that PHONE number of that promoter.  Also Factor requires all contact information to verify dates if you do indeed get audited.  A quick note about how many people were in attendance too on top of recording your albums sold and getting it signed for SOCAN is also super important.


All of this may seem so simple it’s almost laughable but there’s been countless acts I’ve seen not have their shit together and it affects their ability to run the band like a business because of their lack of organization.  It’s great to be able to focus on artistry but just being able to PASS this information on to a responsible team member or hired help (label, PR, etc.) makes your life as an artist SO much easier.


That’s today’s music industry lesson.  Now go make questionable rock and roll snowmen.

kiss snowman