Win a pro artist bio courtesy of Trisha Evelyn!

Every artist needs a good bio. Not only is it one of the best first impressions you can make with a grant application or when submitting your work to a music blog or magazine, it really helps with booking and festival applications. A professionally written bio is the difference between someone taking you seriously or moving on to the next submission without even listening to your music. Your music could be amazing, but if you aren’t presented as professional, it could easily be overlooked.

Indie Pool has teamed up with our new friend, pro writer Trisha Evelyn, to give away two free bios. Trisha is a recent transplant from the west coast, and spends her time writing professional bios and profiles for independent artists and labels.

So, what do you have to do to win a professionally written bio? Here’s the deal. We want you to show us your worst! We’ll be taking submissions for the worst bios over the next two weeks, and we’ll pick two winners. Warning – we will be posting before and after versions to showcase Trisha’s talent, so make sure you’re ok with your submission being out there.

Tweet your link to @indiepool and @evelyntrisha, or post them on Facebook to Indie Pool and Trisha Evelyn by April 9th to win. We’ll pick one winner from Twitter and one from Facebook so submit on both for two chances to win! The winning submissions will be chosen and posted by Thursday, April 12.

Not sure about the difference professional writing makes? Click here to check out Trisha’s portfolio and see the difference for yourself.

What is Mastering?

We get a lot of questions about mastering, so we thought we’d share this post Trevor Norris put together with everyone.

Mastering is the final step in the recording process. It’s the final polish that can make a song jump out of the speakers, or if not done properly, make people scramble for the Treble and Bass buttons, or worse, press Skip or Delete.

Mastering is more important than ever due to the effects of modern technology. Here’s why:

1) Compression & Reformatting: These days, songs have the hell kicked out of them. Files are compressed at different bit rates, using various technologies, sometimes repeatedly, user after user. Files are imported, converted, compressed, exported, broadcast, shared, burnt and then reformatted for the next user experience. There are dozens of public and proprietary music formats used by various digital retailers, subscription services and internet radio.

The point is, each of these reformats and compressions change something. They sometimes exaggerate things such a messy high end (cymbals will sound more brittle) or eliminate some low end (bass and drum warmth) or just make the whole thing seem flat and lifeless.

Banner design tips from Canary Mine

Since Indie Pool started making full colour vinyl banners for artists last month, we’ve had some questions about the best ways to prepare your art. Luckily, Mim from Toronto folk-hop rockers Canary Mine just went through the process and has put together this tutorial for everyone.

Making the 2’ x 6’ banner for my band

I’m familiar with some basics about graphics and graphics programs, but wasn’t sure if I had the knowledge & tools for this banner to turn out well. I’ve done sticker and t-shirt graphics, but I had never worked with such a large image before. I was really worried about poor resolution leading to a blurry, unprofessional looking banner. I was also worried about my computer crashing.

I’m glad I read the detailed specs Trevor (our Indie Pool rep) sent. Being able work on the graphic at ½ size was awesome. Still pretty big, but way more manageable. I set my image size to 12” x 36”, and made sure the resolution was 300.

Indie Pool Staff Top 10 of 2011

2011 is drawing to a close, so it’s time to tally the results and find out what the Indie Pool crew has been listening to this year.

Our list is a little different than some, as we don’t follow the rule that albums on this list must have been released in 2011, instead we ask everyone which records they have been listening to and digging the most this year.

After plenty of arguments and some terribly complicated mathematical equations, we present the combined Indie Pool Staff Top 10 list of 2011.

  1. Adele – 21
  2. MuteMath – Odd Soul
  3. Yelawolf – Trunk Muzik 0-60
  4. The Black Keys – El Camino
  5. Lykki Li – Wounded Rhymes
  6. A Toys Orchestra – Midnight (R)evolution
  7. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
  8. Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys
  9. The Kills – Blood Pressures
  10. Feist – Metals

Read more to see the individual lists…

How To Keep Your Fans Engaged Over The Holidays

The holidays are coming and everyone’s excited to take some time off work and chill out with the family. But where does that leave you as an artist? How are you going to keep people engaged during this slow time?

Try looking at it differently. The slouch isn’t a bad thing – it actually creates opportunities for you to not only keep your current fans, but gain new ones. We’ve put together a few ideas to keep your audience engaged over the holidays.

  • • Cover a holiday favourite and release it as a free download in exchange for an email address. Or you can trade that download for a tweet at Tweet for a Track.
  • • Shoot a video of your holiday cover and send out an e-card to your mailing list. It doesn’t have to be cheese like Billy Idol demonstrates here. Live versions of holiday faves go over well, or you can go totally over the top like Spinal Tap.

Indie Pool Turns 15!

It seems like a lifetime ago I was sitting alone in my Francis St. apartment off Commercial Dr. in Vancouver, calling hundreds and hundreds of bands, trying to convince them I want to help. This was before email, the internet and social media. Hell, it was even before independent music services.

I remember it was a tough sell. Back then, asking an artist to pay a fee of any kind for a service was labeled “pay-to-play”. This was before CD Baby, ReverbNation and all the services that are now part of our daily lives. Back then, DIY was as difficult as it was rare. You made music to get signed. And if someone offered to drive around Vancouver music stores to consign your CDs for you for $20 per month, you kinda raised an eyebrow.

Fortunately, I can be convincing. I’ll always remember the first. It was a beautiful evening in North Van, in the basement of a guy called Scott Resatz from a band called Blind Truth, which come to think of it, seems appropriate. He told me his CD was his baby and that he was trusting me with it. I never forgot that. I loved the responsibility and have always remembered our music is our baby. It comes from us, it is us. Even to this day, when an artist comes to Indie Pool to pick up their new record, they open that box, see it for the first time and their faces light up, we are all reminded that it’s a birth.