Posts Tagged ‘Mary’

It's official – we're in a recession. But you can still stay positive

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Although it probably came as a surprise to no one, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced today that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007. But even with bad news about the economy, it is still possible to stay positive.

This is the third and final post in this series, you can read the first two here:

10 Ways to Stay Positive when Times are Tough
3 More Ways to Stay Positive

7) Read a book. Books have been my drug of choice since I was young. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but books are the best and primary way that I alter my mood. This strategy works best if the book is uplifting, but even if it’s just engaging, a book is a great way to help you stay positive. Books are kind of like vacations – they give you new experiences, out of the ordinary, away from your routine. I remember one time when I was going through a particularly low time, I read the entire Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. Granted, this is not high literature (or anything remotely close). But there are approximately 10 books in the series, and each of them has about 900 pages. By the end of those 9,000 pages, I had a newfound appreciation for the Fantasy genre, and I had mostly gotten over whatever it was that had gotten me down in the first place.

Girl reading a book

8) Take a longer view. Sometimes, when things aren’t going well, it feels like they will never change, like what is happening currently in your life will go on forever. But this just isn’t the case. Change happens. And if you can keep that fact in mind during the tough times, it can help you stay positive that things will get better one day, that what is currently happening won’t be the same forever.

9) Take one day at a time. On the other hand, sometimes a situation seems so overwhelming and so exhausting that the best thing to do is to take each day as it comes. Difficulties can become smaller if you just tackle one day at a time, and by focusing on today, you can help to alleviate worry about tomorrow.

10) Call (or see) a friend. When times are tough, sometimes it’s best to talk to someone who loves you and knows what you need to hear to cheer you up. I had dinner with four of my high school friends on Friday night, and the glow off the conversational therapy will last me a solid couple of weeks.

BONUS 11) Exercise! There is plenty of research that shows that exercise not only helps us be healthier, it also helps improve our mood. But even with all the data, only 22% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise, while a full 25% live a sedentary lifestyle. You may not be used to exercising, it may be hard at first, but go do something to move your body. Start with a short walk around the block or down the street and work your way up to something more vigorous or rigorous.

You’ll stay even more positive if you can find somewhere to exercise that’s aesthetically pleasing. For example, walk near a lake or the ocean, bike down a street that you like in your town, or jog in a nice neighborhood that has beautiful flowers. Pick a spot to exercise where you feel happy to be when you’re not exercising. It will make the experience more pleasant and you more positive.

Photo by frankjuarez

5 reasons that TuneCore has a place in the digital music revolution

Friday, December 21st, 2007

I first heard about TuneCore from my friend Mary when we were on a trip together in Baltimore. She is currently working on producing her first album, and I was picking her brain about digital distribution and manufacturing options for Cara Austin. Because of that conversation, I decided to use TuneCore to distribute Send Meto iTunes, Amazon and Rhapsody.

TuneCore logoSo far, the process has been seamless and I think that TuneCore will emerge as one of the Web sites that musicians can’t live without as the music industry continues to evolve and more and more control is in the hands of the artists. Why? Here are five reasons:

1) It’s a piece of cake to use. I have written step-by-step instructions for using a Web site application before, and although it seems like that type of writing would be easy, it is incredibly difficult to make sure that you remember every step and it’s also tricky to keep the language simple enough that it stays clear. Add on top of that the fact that it’s practically impossible to make step-by-step instructions not-boring. But TuneCore has done it all, and their FAQ may be the best one that I have ever read. It’s thatgood and helpful. Uploading music to the site was also really simple, and they are very clear about exactly how long it will take for the music to debut on the various services. (January 26, 2008 – Stay tuned!) I’m also in the process of manufacturing some CDs with them – I’ll let you know how that goes when the process is complete.

2) They give artists all the money they make. There are a number of other services that help musicians get their digital tunes up on iTunes (CDBabycomes to mind), but they all take a cut. Sometimes a small cut (CDBaby takes 9%), but TuneCore takes 0%. Nothing. They just charge a fee to process the stuff up front – $0.99 per track, $0.99 per store per album, and $19.98 per album per year for storage and maintenance. All the money that the songs earn goes to the artists. Plus, it’s really smart that they are charging $19.98 PER YEAR because that creates a recurring revenue stream that will only grow as more musicians sign up and use the service.

3) TuneCore “gets” musicians. I am not sure if the founders and people who work there are musicians, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. Here’s a paragraph from their philosophy that reminds me of the movie School of Rock, the part where Jack Black’s character is talking about how rock music is really all about fighting “The Man.”

“Why should you have to give up money from each and every sale of your music? Why should you have to enter into exclusive deals and sign strangling contracts? Why should you have to give up your rights and the ownership of your own music to some other company just to gain access to music stores? TuneCore changes all that.”

4) They keep rolling out new features. Since I first looked into TuneCore, they’ve released a service that allows artists to create a branded Web page for their album (these can be seen in the TuneCore directory), the ability to upload music videos to iTunes, and cool metrics, like the ones shown below. They are also working on technology to offer daily tracking of how many songs are sold through the U.S. iTunes service, a feature that is bound to be a huge hit with musicians who are trying to figure out ways to get people to listen to their music and who I bet will easily become obsessed with monitoring the sales.

TuneCore Screenshot

5) Success stories and big-name artists. TuneCore has been able to sign up some big-name artists – Jay-Z and Public Enemy – to use the service, and it’s generated some really good publicity for them. I expect this will continue. They also have a success story that’s really compelling, an artist named Eric Hutchinson who rocketed to fame after he was mentioned by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. This type of rags-to-riches story is going to be really attractive to musicians who are trying to make it, and should only help to increase the popularity of the service.