Category Archives: Blue House Records Featured Artists

This exclusive content features artists who have chosen Blue House Records as a tool for developing their craft as music professionals.

Marketing in the Modern Music Biz: How to Get People to Notice Your Band

Written by Tom Edwards

We’ve all heard the phrase: You have to spend money to make money. It’s a popular expression because it’s true. This hasn’t changed over the years, but the method of getting yourself out there to actually make the cash and get your band heard certainly has. The days of driving all over town to staple up flyers are for the most part extinct, and the days of clicking a button to obtain the same result has arrived. The world of digital downloads and streaming video; of websites and computerized graphic design; of Facebook event invites is ready and waiting for you.

To start, I want to address a statement I’ve heard from quite a few of the more inexperienced artists I work with: “I don’t care about the money, it’s all about the music.” …I’m totally with you. I’m on the same page. Unfortunately for both of us, if you absolutely don’t care about making money, no one is going to hear your music.

This is true for a variety of reasons, but one is very overlooked by newbies; and quite possibly the most important: No one is going to take you seriously if you offer play for free. When a booking agent hears this, they immediately think: This person doesn’t play anywhere else. No one is coming to this show. or He must not be very good. That may be an exaggeration, but you get the point. Even if you really don’t care about money, don’t play for free. Unless of course it’s a charity fundraiser or something to that effect, then by all means get the publicity and help out a good cause.

One thing to remember is you can spend the money you make playing gigs on whatever you want. In other words if you really don’t care about the money or don’t need it, invest it right back into your music career. You can buy merch, business cards, a Bandzoogle website, flyers, studio time or more equipment. (We’ll get to that in a minute.) If you can do it financially, this is the best option. The more of these things have, the more professional you appear and the bigger the shows you can book. To put it into perspective: More people will hear your music. I funded a world tour almost exclusively from playing shows. There is no end to the possibilities of your music career if you simply put in effort and make it happen.

Now that I’ve explained the reasons you should care about making money, I’ll show you some ways to use this income and get yourself noticed:

Make a Website
This is huge. When you talk to a booking agent, club promoter or any interested party for that matter, they almost exclusively ask the same first question: Do you have a website where I can check out your music? If you want people to take you seriously; and get more people to notice your band, your answer should be yes.

The biggest issue with this in most cases, is that most musicians don’t know how to build a website and they can’t pay a programmer the generally high amount of money to make one for them.

I have your solution, and it’s cheap and easy: Bandzoogle. I was tipped off to its existence a couple of years ago by a fellow musician, and it changed my music career almost immediately. I felt like a rockstar when I could tell people to “check out my website.” I booked more shows and had a place to send people when they asked about my music. It’s only $9.95 per month for their cheapest plan which includes a basic design and your very own “.com” address; $14.95 a month for the aforementioned items plus full design customization and some extra storage for music files and photos as well as fan statistics; and finally $19.95 if you want all of that along with download codes which you can hand out as promos at shows, etc.

The design part is incredibly easy. You simply pick a theme, and drop whatever you want into it. Videos, pictures, news, a show schedule, contact form or even html code. Uploading your music is very simple as well: all you have to do is upload them and add a title and Bandzoogle provides a very nice little music player at the bottom of the screen. You have the ability to allow or disallow free downloads of your music. I can’t stress the importance of this enough: Get a website. No excuses. Plug that URL everywhere once you do.

Get Business Cards
These are cheap… incredibly cheap; and you will be surprised at how many people say things like “Oh wow, you even have cards?!” Again, you look more established and credible. I use Vistaprint for my business cards. You can choose from literally hundreds of pre-made designs into which you can simply type your information; or you can upload your own design using their downloadable template. If you know how to do basic graphic design, I recommend the latter option. Make sure to include your name or band name, contact phone number and email, website and what kind of music you play.

If you want a custom design and don’t know how to design one, contact me on my music website: under Booking, and put “Business Card Design” as the subject. My email is at the bottom of the booking page. See how I did that? Now you’ve heard my music. I’ll reiterate: Plug that URL everywhere. I charge very low rates for fellow musicians: Usually $30 for a card design, depending on how detailed you would like it.

Make Social Media Accounts: This should be a no-brainer for modern music marketing. Make a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and a YouTube Page. Studies on Facebook user interaction have shown that 1-4 engaging and interesting posts have better results than posting overly frequent. Think quality over quantity. Twitter is a different animal, and you should be tweeting at least once a day if not more. Try to post things that you think people will share or retweet. I tend to take a humorous approach to my posting in order to gather more attention. This is especially effective on Twitter. And again: Post your website URL on there and share it.

Sell Your Music on iTunes
This is a great way to make your music available to people and appear more credible. I haven’t mentioned having good-quality recordings in this article for the sake of sticking to new-age-related music marketing tips, but you should know that it’s important.

Go Ahead and Spend The Money on a Good Photographer
By all means, get creative with it, too. Try to think of original or unique photo ideas and pay somebody who knows what they’re doing to take them. In this day and age, with everyone calling themselves a photographer, it’s pretty easy to find someone for cheap to do this. Make sure to check out their work and see if it fits the style you’re aiming for. This is very important for credibility on your website and social media pages; as well as flyers.

Join Music Self-Promotion Sites
I use Reverbnation for this. It’s kind of like a pseudo social media site for musicians, in which you can share your music, bio, shows and booking information. The reason I still use it even after creating a website is for it’s integration in other social networks, like Facebook; or even your website. You can put a music player on your Facebook fan page, which is pretty crucial, and I use their embeddable show schedule widget on my website when I’m home in the states.

Create Your Own Flyers
I know I said the day and age of flyers is over… well, I lied. Somewhat, anyways. I still use flyers at many shows, albeit I don’t plaster them all over town unless it’s a big event. I usually just post a few in a venue a couple weeks before I’m schedule to play there. The other big use for flyers and graphic design ability is on your website and social media pages. It always looks better to have a nice looking graphic at the top of a Facebook event page or website. Music marketing is all about your credibility; i.e., your appearance as an established musician. I can’t say that enough. Making flyers is pretty simple, but make sure you have a decent program to do it with. I use Adobe Photoshop, but there are plenty of other options available for cheaper. For the love of all things holy, don’t use Microsoft Paint. You’d be better off with a picture of a piece of cardboard that you’ve drawn on with a Sharpie. If that’s your only option, skip the self-design tasks for now. This is something I highly recommend learning basic or intermediate skills in, though. It gives you the ability to look extra-professional without the price tag. For big things like album artwork however, pay someone who knows what they’re doing. I can always spot a do-it-yourself album cover. A lot of times I cringe, which is sad for bands who have a great sound to put out there.

To summarize, get with the times or forever live in the dusty shadows of open-mic night acts. If you’re all about the music and you don’t care about money, perfect. I love your attitude and I share the same one, however we now both know the part it plays in our success as musicians. Put in some work, spend a little money and get yourself heard. No one is going to notice your band unless you help them find it. We’re all ready and waiting to listen.

Tom Edwards is the founder of ; and writer and website designer for Artists Abroad, an organization that inspires the wont of travel, of seeing local live music and art, and the motivation to help people get off their couches and enjoy life to the fullest. He has played music professionally for 8 years and is currently touring Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand with this organization, under the newly-formed group “Tom Edwards & Friends.” You can follow his unique experiences while traveling at or hear his music at

Exclusive New Release: Aqua Vista by Alexa Merrill

859710107017_cover.170x170-75When LA singer/songwriter Alexa Merrill stepped into
Blue House Records studios, we knew we had found a focused young woman with a clear musical vision. Aqua Vista, her latest EP released this Summer, was pre-recorded and produced by Merrill as a demo using GarageBand software. Merrill had composed 5 musically elaborate tracks, complete with string arrangements, intricate percussion patterns, powerful overdubbed guitars and vocal melodies that seemed to move flawlessly across a wide harmonic range. These exploratory compositions ranged in style from American Rock to elements of Indie and Folk Rock, Pop, Soul, and R&B, and carried heavy lyrical power with words surrounding many of the developmental and life changing experiences associated with today’s youth and young adults; transition, loss, relationships, and difficult life choices.

After months of work and many hours spent perfecting each track, we are proud to present Aqua Vista, the second EP from Alexa Merrill and a glimpse at what’s to come from this talented young musician. (Check out “Tracking Vocals” and “Tracking in Westwood, CA” for behind the scenes photos and information on the making of Aqua Vista.)

Stream samples of Aqua Vista at our Audio Samples page , or visit the Alexa Merrill Music Youtube page at:

Stream Aqua Vista on Spotify here:

Download Aqua Vista on iTunes here:   Click for Aqua Vista

Aqua Vista was recorded, mixed and produced at Blue House Records studios in Los Angeles, CA.

New Music Drop: Sonny Hills

Sonny Hills

Sonny Hills

Born in Alabama, raised in Ohio, released in Chicago, IL. Sonny Hills melds elements of southern blues, rock, and soul with addictive, loop pedal induced guitar melodies, an inspiring lyrical style, and the kind of upbeat pop rhythms that’ll get your feet movin’. A certain chord strikes in the soulful ballad “Hats”. As Sonny Hills takes us through the line “you will be on my mind”, listeners can’t help but be immersed with feelings of hope, and the longing for a loved one, providing a glimpse of the powerful music yet to come from Sonny Hills.

Featured Artist: Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards

Small town roots with a big world perspective – Tom Edwards combines the personality and character of your favorite hometown artist with the adventurous spirit of a seasoned traveler.

For Edwards, music began in high school, performing for friends and family in southern Ohio.  In 2007, Edwards teamed up with brother and talented guitarist Rob Edwards to form the acoustic rock group Failure Savvy.  The group developed into a popular touring act, gaining widespread acclaim across the midwest performing cover tunes and original music at local venues and talent filled festivals such as the Paper City Music Festival.  In the years since, one might find Edwards and friends roaming the country, performing for audiences in more than 10 states, spreading a warm blend of acoustic pop/rock with a good dose of southern Ohio soul. 

This year, Edwards is taking his music international with Artists Abroad.  Artists Abroad will follow Edwards and long time friends Corey Gahm (percussionist) and Aaron Littler (photographer) as they explore the globe, spanning 4 continents and spreading great music along the way.  The trip will be well documented with updates, photos, and music to be recorded onsite at exotic locations throughout the Eastern Hemisphere.

Stay tuned for updates on Artists Abroad here:

And connect with Tom Edwards here:

Twitter Facebook YouTube

Tracking Vocals – 3.11.13

We laid down some vocal takes today for Alexa’s song “Giving Up On You”.  Signal routing is as follows:

Blue Baby Bottle Condensor → Focusrite ISA One Preamp → dbx 160x compressor/limiter → Digidesign 003 rack → Pro Tools 10

Alexa tracking vocals on the Blue Baby Bottle

Alexa tracking vocals through the Blue Baby Bottle.

Alexa Tracking Vocals 2

Fun fact, that kick drum head in the background survived nearly 15 years of abuse by way of Travis Tatman and friends. Now it’s a wall ornament with fun stickers.

Signal is routed from Focusrite Preamp to dbx 160x to control dynamics, but we usually keep the ratio and attack settings low while tracking.

The signal is routed from a Focusrite Preamp to a 1970’s era dbx 160x to control dynamics, but we usually keep the ratio and attack settings low while tracking to avoid over compressing the signal.

Solid little setup.  The Presonus D8 Preamp sounds great on drums, and adds an extra 8 XLR inputs to your signal chain when connected via digital fiber optic cable.

Solid little setup. The Presonus D8 Preamp sounds great on drums, and adds an extra 8 XLR inputs to your signal chain when connected via digital fiber optic cable.

Working with Alexa has been a lot of fun.  She's got some great material and really has a handle on her music style.  Excited to post new music soon.

Working with Alexa has been a lot of fun. She’s got  great material and really has a handle on her musical style. Excited to post some crunchy new jams very soon!!!  Until then, keep it funky.  – TT

Tracking in Westwood, CA – 3.2.13

Currently working on an EP with a talented singer/songwriter out of LA.  The music style is a kind of pop rock mix with elements of R&B and even some Blues.  Will post music samples soon.  Until then, here are a couple pics from our session last Saturday.


The Blue Baby Bottle condensor microphone sounds great on the high end frequencies, which is perfect to throw over the hi hat and snare. Really able to capture those crisp hi hat notes and the snappy rim shots with this setup.


Still going with the Sennheiser e902 kick drum mic. All it takes is this guy to get a solid thump, and when absolutely needed, we add a bit of sample kick from the Steven Slate Drum pack to get a bit more high end punch.


Loving the current recording setup. DAW, Compressor and Preamp all in one case, a case for cables, a case for mics, and the laptop, and we’re off to the studio to make records. Nice!


There’s just way too much going on here. But man does that Gibson ES 137 sound great through that Marshall cab… mmmm hmmmm