My Favorite Albums of 2011

p>In case you don't follow my Music's Master blog, here is a review of my top 25 favorite music albums of the year.

To better keep up with my musical ramblings, subscribe to my Music's Master blog.

25. Childish Gambino - Camp

24. Lady Gaga - Born This Way

23. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do

22. Young the Giant - Young the Giant

21. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient

20. Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr - It's a Corporate World

19. Smith Westerns - Dye it Blonde

18. Ximena Sarinana - Ximena Sarinana

17. The Belle Brigade - The Belle Brigade

16. Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean

15. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

14. City and Colour - Little Hell

13. A Skylit Drive - Identity on Fire

12. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

11. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

10. James Blake - James Blake

9. Sleeping With Sirens - Let's Cheers To This

8. The Naked and Famous - Passive Me Aggressive You

7. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

6. Adele - 21

5. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

4. Oh Land - Oh Land

3. MUTEMATH - Odd Soul

2. Andrew Belle - Ladder

1. Allen Stone - Allen Stone

Want $100?

Songclash and Jiggy Piggy are giving away $100 to the guest blog post for blog.songclash.com that receives the most traffic. You can find more details on the opportunity below:

What’s the first step?

First, tell us what you want your write up to talk about. Send us your topics at blog@songclash.com and let us know who you are, of course. We will gather the topics, review them; so similar topics are identified and we can suggest a different topic. The topic selection will be set in the order that it’s received. So if Joe sends topic X before Blow sends topic Y, then Joe’s topic will be kept first. Easy?

What’s the second step?

We will notify you, rather immediately that your topic is all good with the Piggy. You will then let us know when we can expect the write up, images to include, links or what have you and we will read, review and post on the blog.

Who gets the $100 cash prize?

We have analytics in place for all of our posts on our blog. The write up that earns the most readers, by the end of the fiscal month of the blog, will be $100 richer :) Simple?

Be as creative, opinionated, clever, witty, and humoristic, but don’t hold back at all. We do recommend the least amount of profanity, but there are some things in the music industry that have that reaction against your emotions and to be honest, we won’t hold it against you as long as it reflects an honest need for it. Obviously, we will be reading it first. Does that make sense?

Your turn – any questions at all for the Piggy?

Guest Post: Using the Social Media Trend to Save the Music Industry

Kalen Smith is today's guest blogger that has taken the enormous issues surrounding today's music industry and has enlightened us on how social media can save it. Does it sound bold and unrealistic? Continue reading and leave your opinions in the comments below.

As the Internet has permeated every aspect of our culture, the music industry has gone through some drastic changes. For the past decade, it has seemed as if the music industry and the Internet have been at war with each other. Since the development of Napster and its clones, consumers have had no problem downloading music for free off of the Internet. Digital distribution seemed to be the end of the music industry for a while.

That was before the social media revolution. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have had a tremendous impact on the industry and may even save it in the midst of one of the worst recessions in almost 80 years. Not everyone in the industry shares this enthusiasm. Some feel that the social media has obliterated prior structures without leaving replacing them that will last.

However, social media is probably not a fad, but a new reality for the entertainment industry. Those who are used to working with the record producers in LA will just have to adapt to the reorganization of the industry. Smart producers and artists have found ways to create value for the industry.

There are a number of ways that social media can be leveraged to increase sales for record companies or independent artists:

  1. Facebook page music templates. Although Facebook has become an amazing way to engage people and promote music around the world, the layout is not consistent with that of an up-and-coming hip-hop artist. One of the ways that music companies try to change their Facebook image is using a service such as Myband. This tool not only allows you to showcase your bands photos and logo, but also gives you the opportunity to add streaming tools to distribute your music.
  2. New Twitter tools. Twitter has a number of tools that can help artists. One of them is Twiturm, which allows artists to post their music directly on the site. That way, you don’t have to worry about links to your music getting lost in the Tweetosphere. Other musicians use tools such as twt.fm or Song.ly allow you to allow their followers to listen to their music without having to download it.
  3. Foursquare. Foursquare is a newer social network that shows a lot of promise for the music industry. Regularly users of Foursquare are able to get important badges which can help them bring a lot of followers to their venues. Those who benefit from Foursquare use it frequently and know how to promote themselves appropriately.
  4. Measure the impact of your social media campaign. All the social media in the world is useless if you don’t monitor the results. Use tools like Band Metrics to see how your fans are responding to your marketing.

For several years, the music industry has wished that it could shy away from the Internet. The truth is that the social media is taking over the music industry and smart producers have found ways to use it to turn the trend to their advantage.

Being Different vs. Selling Out

During my panel at DMAC on Saturday, I was disappointed to hear about how so many independent artists still strive to be signed to a major record label. When I asked them why this was, they struggled to come up with a response that wasn't some form of "What other options are there?".

Of course, our discussion was focused around artists and the music industry, but everything could be translated into a general principle of life. The principle is that being different is risky and selling out is easy.

To many of the artists in attendance, being a mainstream success was the most important thing to them. Little do they know (although they should), you can't become a mainstream success without giving into "the man" and molding your ideals around someone else's. You really do have to sacrifice your individuality along the way.

At the end of the day, you aren't going to be able to have both. You're not Radiohead. You're not Tool.

You need to reset your goals and decide whether you want to become Nickelback or would like to build a sustainable niche following gradually by creating art that you'll always love.

Make Music Your Career

In my ongoing attempt to provide my insights into the changing music industry, myself and the amazing team at Endagon have been hard at work on a new project set to launch in the coming months.

The project is called Make Music Your Career (MMYC) and it will be a training program and community that will assist any musician in their efforts toward becoming a full-time musician.

Since we are still months away from opening our doors, I just wanted to let everyone know that the temporary website is up and we are currently accepting the first wave of interested parties.

To make sure you reserve your spot in the course, all you have to do is supply your email address at the bottom of MakeMusicYourCareer.com. You will then be kept informed on the launch and other teasers of the program along the way.

Speaking at DMAC This Weekend

DMAC, a.k.a. Ft. Lauderdale's Driven Art and Music Conference, will be taking place this weekend, January 29th, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Since I have promoted this event in previous posts on this blog, I won't go into too many details of the event (you should know about it by now). Instead, I will tell you more information about my panel, the topic, and when to show up if you're planning on attending.

I will be on a panel alongside the great Chad Beatz, a writer and multi-platinum selling producer for Travie McCoy and Rihanna (to name a few). Also on the panel will be Jeff Halatrax, another writer and producer that has worked with Selena Gomez and Jesse McCartney. Finally, I have the distinct pleasure of sitting next to Lou Plaia, a Co-Founder of Reverb Nation.

Our panel discussion is called "Get a Song. Get It Out." It's a perfect topic for the individuals on this panel for we will be talking about the entire process from creating a song to marketing it to the masses. I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts and questions from the artists in attendance.

Our discussion will be at 11:00am on Saturday. Registration will start that morning at 8:00AM with the first panel about art will begin promptly at 9:30.

I look forward to seeing some of you there.

For more info on the event, click here.

Panelists at Driven Music Conference

I wrote a post about the Driven Art + Music Conference several weeks back.

Well, I have been asked to speak and collect anybody that might be interested in sitting on a panel with me. The topic is yet to be determined, but we'll probably want to speak about something web-related.

So, if you have an interest in becoming a part of this excellent event, please leave a comment on this post, @ me on Twitter, or email me at logan@loganlenz.com.

I look forward to gathering an awesome troop.

Driven Art + Music Conference

A friend of mine over at Driven Productions is putting on a music conference in January. This week is the last week to signup to showcase for all bands. More information is listed below.

Reserve your spot to showcase at the event by clicking here.

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This is your official LAST CHANCE invitation to submit to the Driven Music + Art Conference!

Event Dates: Saturday, January 29th, 2011
Event Location: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida
Submissions Open: Submissions are open now!
Submissions Close: Saturday, December 18th
Submission Fee: $29.00

What is The Driven Music + Art Conference?
This event is a music and art conference at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida that is a direct-connect to music industry executives and professionals. It includes discussions, Q&A, and meet & greets with those that are in the position to offer career advancement.

Why should my band submit to perform?
You're submitting for the chance to perform at more than just a show. It's a showcase. Showcase your live performance for music industry executives and professionals! Showcase it for music fans! Do it to increase your chance at career advancement! This event will put an exceptional venue on your show schedule.

Showcase performance spots are available to bands, duos, and solo artists that submit and are selected to perform. It’s a chance for bands to bring their live show to music industry executives and professionals, as well as bring their live show to music fans eager to see the best in emerging bands. Hear from and meet a panel of music industry executives and professionals. Engage in discussions led by featured panelists including:

  • Steve Robertson (Atlantic Records VP of A&R - Signed Paramore and Shinedown)
  • Nick Haussling (Warner Brother Records A&R)
  • Jimmy Roc (MySpace Records)
  • Chad Beatz (writer and multi-platinum selling producer for Travie McCoy, Rihanna and more, A&R Consultant to the VP of A&R at Island/Def Jam)
  • Jeff Halatrax (writer and producer for Kevin Rudolph, Selena Gomez and more)
  • Scott Mitchell Putesky (Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids co-founder and original guitarist, most famously known as "Daisy Berkowitz")
  • Jason Bieler (Bieler Brothers Records co-founder [Nonpoint, Skindred] and founding member of Saigon Kick [Atlantic Records])
  • Lou Plaia (ReverbNation co-founder)

More to be announced.

Shake hands with those right now in the position to advance your career in music! Connect. Network. Learn. Advance!

Is The Driven Music + Art Conference for me?
Yes, if you're interested in music. It's for bands and artists seeking advancement and the chance to showcase for industry executives and professionals, fans of live music, those studying music, anyone interested in the business side of music and those already active in the industry looking to make new contacts, as well as "give back" to their industry.

This is open to ALL genres of music.

This is your LAST CHANCE to submit. By submitting to this Showcase, you will receive one FREE ticket to attend the conference whether you were selected to perform or not. Event information subject to change.

Click here to reserve your spot to showcase.

Music's Master "25 Days of Music"

Tomorrow is December 1st. For those of you that have been following me over the years knows that I run a music blog over at Musicsmaster.com (previously musicmastermind.com).

While I don't spend too much time on the blog (regrettably), I do look forward to December 1st so that I can issue my favorite albums of the year a day at a time throughout the entire month of December.

The concept behind "25 Days of Music" is a spin on the 25 Days of Christmas. Beginning December 1st and ending on Christmas day (December 25th), I count down the 25 best albums of the year.

To review what type of music makes the cut, you can take a gander at the last three years and the lists I conjured up.

Best of 2007

Best of 2008

Best of 2009

Be sure to check in to Musicsmaster.com everyday this month and follow @amusicmaster on Twitter to never miss a post.

Music.LoganLenz.com

In my endless attempt to expand loganlenz.com, I have decided to add a new blog that features some of my favorite music picks at the moment.

It can be found at: http://music.loganlenz.com

To create the feed that is being titled "Logan Lenz's Music Picks," I employed 3 web tools.

  1. Tumblr
  2. Streampad
  3. Soundcloud

I am uploading all of the audio files and hosting the code at Tumblr.

I am using Streampad's API to automatically play the uploading songs and for the awesome toolbar located at the bottom of the page.

Finally, I am utilizing Soundcloud to accept song submissions. If you're in a band and want your music heard or just would like to suggest something for me to listen to, there is a badge on the site that will allow you to upload any song to me. As soon as it uploads, it is emailed directly to me.

I figured this was a great way to get more of my love for music into loganlenz.com. This could be a cool way for me to help promote upcoming artists and to discover new music if you guys are so inclined to share your picks with me.

Rock For Hunger Fest 5

I am so happy.

Keller Williams, Zach Deputy, the Lee Boys, and many more will be playing Rock For Hunger Fest in Orlando on November 6th.

The lineup was announced this morning. Take a look at the videos below for more information on the event and the unbelievable charity doing big things for hunger and homelessness in Central Florida.

My Interview with Jerry Heller for Songclash.com

Last week, I had the distinct honor of interviewing the "Godfather" of west-coast rap music, Jerry Heller. For those of you whom are unfamiliar, Jerry was the man behind the rap group NWA. Ultimately, he was the mastermind responsible for igniting the careers of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and many more.

Before founding Ruthless Records, he had plenty of experience in the music industry after he served as a booking agent, manager, and producer.

Rather than ramble on about his outstanding credentials, I will let you read his Wikipedia listing.

Below, is the audio track of my 30 minute conversation with Jerry Heller. Throughout it, I ask him about his career, the changes in the music industry, and what he thinks about the concept behind Songclash.com.

Jerry Heller Interview by loganlenz