Winter Music Conference is a weeklong electronic music conference and festival, held every March in Miami. DJs, promoters and fans from around the world make the trip each year to see EDM’s biggest and emerging talent.
We caught up with Sariah, who’s latest single “Kill The Lights,” is igniting dance floors and one of our “must see” artists for this year.
1) You recently released the new, infectious dance track, “Kill The Lights.” How would you say your sound has developed? Give us an insight into your writing process.
I love that word, “infectious!” Beginning with the writing process, I have grown so much as a singer, actress, friend, daughter, and lover that I really feel it all connects with my music. I really wanted a POWER house record. I wanted something that would make my audience feel alive, sexy, courageous, and unique! This track, “Kill The Lights” did that for me the second I began working on it with Marisol Credle and DJ Cova. My sound has developed into more than just a dance track and I want it to become an anthem heard around the world!
2) Many argue that in today’s music industry, it’s better to release fewer tracks more frequently. What are your thoughts on this? Also, I’m sure I speak for a great deal of your fans when asking if there are plans for a full album of tracks?
I really feel that it is important to constantly be working on the next. I love my producer, DJ Cova, because he always teaches me that it’s about your next song. Keep pushing forward and creating because that is how you grow and continue to find yourself as an artist. It is important to focus on each track you release and give it its journey for your fans, the crowd, the DJ’s and radio. But, I honestly feel there are no more rules! Artists should do what they want to and release however many songs they feel is great for them. I’ve been exploring into film and theater which is constantly inspiring me to write new music!
3) I’ve noticed you’ve been receiving quite a bit of press in Miami surrounding WMC (Winter Music Conference). Can you tell us a little about the festival and your previous experiences performing there?
I always have a wonderful time at WMC! My first year was the best because I met SO many DJ’s and producers from around the world. That’s why I love it so much. Then, each year I am able to catch up with them and meet more people they are connected to. I met Jellybean Benitez who produced many of Madonna’s early tracks, David Guetta and many more! This year should be a great time as well. I look forward to “Kill The Lights” being a part of the Promo Only record passed out this year, too!
4) Rumor has it, “Kill The Lights” will be debuted live at WMC. When and where can fans catch a live performance?
Your rumor is true :) I will be performing at The Palace on March 24th and a few others! Please check out my Facebook page for all of the events I will be performing at LIVE! www.Facebook.com/Sariah
5) Final question, is it really “All About Sex”? :)
Isn’t it?! :)
This is a matter that I’ve struggled with, going back and forth. Should I release full length albums in this new music era or should I be releasing singles once per month? I was leaning towards releasing a single each month for one reason: consistent fan engagement. It’s good to always have something new to talk about with your fans!
But then, I ran into a problem - a few weeks isn’t enough time to promote a song in any kind of impactful/effective way, especially when you are an independent artist. You’ve barely promoted that song before you’ve moved onto the next one. And from the fan engagement standpoint, I found many of them didn’t know I had certain songs out. For whatever reason, all of the fans don’t pay attention all of the time. So if there’s no sustained attention/focus on the promotion of a particular release, it’s hard for people to know it exists.
Another important point is that this business has always been about THE SONG. And when you have a great song, it’s just not possible to see its full potential realized (in spreading out there) when you give it only a short promotional window.
So then, the question became…how do I solve the need to have something new to engage the fans with and the need to keep promotional focus on one release in order to maximize its impact in the marketplace at large?
For one, I think releasing an album (a body of works/songs) is necessary to accomplish this. Forget that people are going to buy whatever single song they like on your album and not necessarily the whole thing. That’s going to happen in this market. The issue isn’t point of sale. The issue is promotion. I think the album is necessary for promotional purposes. With an album, I can create a longer window for gaining awareness and discovery by new fans. And, at the same time, always have something new for the current fans, but pointing them to the same release…which will also help them discover the album and dive deeper into it.
With an album, you can have something new to announce/promote to the fans and public each week, such as:
You can go on and on…there are so many creative ways when you have a collection of songs (an album) that you’re working with to promote as opposed to just having one song. The prolonged attention you put on and generate for that album is only going to raise sales and raise your profile as an artist to the public as you progress. Moving on too quickly can really hurt your progress as an artist. I remember reading an article once about Montell Jordan. They had released “This Is How We Do It” and it was a major success. But they moved too quick on promoting a new release and it didn’t work because people were still into “This Is How We Do It”. Radio was still just spinning “This Is How We Do It” (and I’m willing to bet that it was because the market was still discovering that song; hence, the demand). Not respecting the promotional window ended up hurting his career.
Each release is like a spark. So you have to take time to fan the flames and let it burn. When it starts fizzling out and you’ve run out of creative ways to prolong attention on it…then start planning the next release. You can’t have fire if all you do is make sparks, but wont fan the flames. Just a thought.
Article originally appeared on Music Thing Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/) and was written by Minh Chau.
You know your song is great, but is it a hit? Will it inspire listeners to share it with their friends, hand over their email address, or maybe even open their wallets? You need feedback from average music fans who have nothing to lose by being honest.
SoundOut compares your song to 50,000 others from both major labels and indies. They promise to tell you how good your track is with guaranteed 95% accuracy (I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what that means). Starting at $40, they compile the results of 80 reviews into an easy-to-read PDF report. Top rated artists are considered for additional publishing and promotional opportunities.
The head of business development invited me to try out the service for free with three 24-hour “Express Reports” (a $150 value). I used the feedback from my Jango focus group to select the best and worst tracks I recorded for my last album, along with my personal favorite, an 8-minute progressive house epic.
I can describe the results in one word: brutal. None of the songs are deemed worthy of being album tracks, much less singles. In the most important metric, Market Potential, my best song received a 54%, my worst 39%, and my favorite a pathetic 20%. Those numbers stand in stark contrast to my stats at Jango, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit.
Despite the huge swing in percentages, the track ratings only vary from 4.7 to 5.9, which implies Market Potential scores of 47% to 59%. For better or for worse, those scores are weighted using “computational forensic linguistic technology and other proprietary SoundOut techniques.” Even the track rating score is weighted! I would love to see a raw average of the 80 reviewers’ 0-10 point ratings, because I don’t trust the algorithms. The verbal smokescreen used to describe them doesn’t exactly inspire confidence (isn’t any numerical analysis “computational”?).
Perhaps to soften the blow, the bottom of the page lists three songs by well known artists in the same genre that have similar market potential. Translation: your songs suck, but so do these others by major label acts you look up to. Curiously, two of the same songs are listed on my 39% and 20% reports, which casts further doubt on the underlying algorithms.
I found the Detailed Feedback page to be the most useful. It tells you who liked your song based on age group and gender. I don’t know exactly what “like” translates to on a 10-point scale, but it makes sense that 25-34 year-olds rate my retro 80′s song higher than 16-24 year-olds, since the former were actually around back then.
The track positioning chart maps your song relative to 1,000 others in the genre, based on rating and consensus of opinion. It’s a clean and intuitive representation of how your song stacks up to the competition. Still, it would be nice to know what criteria (if any) was used to select those 1,000 tracks.
The Review Analysis section is utterly useless. The elements listed change from song to song. The only element that was consistently judged excellent is guitar, which is quite generous considering there’s no guitar in any of my songs.
The actual reviews are no better or worse than the comments on my Jango profile. They ranged from overly enthusiastic (“THIS SONG WAS GREAT I REALLY LIKED IT IT HAD A GOOD BEAT TO IT I MY HAVE TO DOWNLOAD IT MYSLEF”) to passive aggressive (“this song wasn’t as bad as it could be”). At the very least, the reviews prove there are real people behind the numbers.
Unfortunately for me, they don’t appear to be fans of electronic music. Not a single reviewer mentioned an electronic act. Instead of the usual comparisons to The Postal Service, Owl City, and Depeche Mode, I got Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston(!), and Alan Parsons Project.
As puzzling as the mention of guitar in the review analysis was, it was a comment about my “20% song” that convinced me to review the review process. It said “the lack of vocals is a shame.” Those seven words reveal a key flaw in their methodology: reviewers only have to listen to the first 60 seconds of your song.
If you’re considering giving SoundOut a whirl, I highly recommend trying your hand as a scout on their sister site, Slicethepie. In just five minutes, you too can be one of the “real music fans and consumers” reviewing songs for SoundOut. You’ll start well below the minimum wage at $0.02 per review, but top performers can level up to $0.20 a pop.
Hitting the play button starts the 60 second countdown until you can start typing your review. If you don’t come up with at least a couple quality sentences, it nags you to try harder. The elements in each track are not explicitly rated. Instead, the text of each review is analyzed, as evidenced by the scolding I received when one of my reviews was rejected:
“A review of the track would be good! You haven’t mentioned any of our expected musical terms – please try again…”
I didn’t appreciate the sarcasm after composing what I considered to be a very insightful review mentioning the production and drums – both of which are scored elements. This buggy behavior may explain my stellar air guitar scores. Perhaps my reviewers wrote “it would be NICE to hear some GUITAR” and the algorithm mistakenly connected the two words.
Even though I only selected electronic genres when I created my profile, I heard everything from mainstream rock/pop to hip hop, country, and metal. Reviewers are not matched to songs by genre. Everyone reviews everything, which opens us all up to Whitney Houston comparisons.
Can you tell if a song is great by listening to the first minute? No, but you can tell if it’s a hit.
If you operate in a niche genre, searching for your 1000 true fans, SoundOut may not be a good fit. For example, my best song doesn’t pay off until you hear the lyrical twist in the last chorus, and my “20% song” doesn’t have vocals for the first two minutes. With that in mind, how useful is a comprehensive analysis of the first 60 seconds? Less useful still when the data comes from reviewers who aren’t fluent in the genre.
While I have some reservations about their methodology, SoundOut is the fastest way I know of to get an unbiased opinion from a large sample of listeners. Use it wisely!
Article originally appeared on Passive Promotion (http://www.passivepromotion.com/) and was written by Brian Hazard.