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  • blog post Report Pocket Sized Podcast gets a Jesta Sized Theme tune

    Bryan Page
    Posted on May 25, 2012 - 2:30 by Bryan Page

    I had a great time composing a theme tune for Pocket Sized Podcast hosted by Scott Willsey and Peter Nikolaidis. Pocket Sized Podcast is a short, pocketable podcast about Apple’s iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, as well as everything else iOS related, such as apps, accessories, and more.

    At the moment the only place you can hear it is on the show itself at http://www.pocketsizedpodcast.com/ - go and check it out and let me know what you think of it!

    I have produced quite a few radio jingles, podshow theme tunes and audio music snippets now and I'm available to hire at a very reasonable cost. For details or a quote please get in touch using the contact form on my website.

  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 9 - Dude, are you still alive?!

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Jan 17, 2011 - 12:30 by Bryan Page

    I know you've been unable to sleep for the last few months, wondering what became of Jesta in the final weeks of the Music Success In 9 Weeks challenge! Well, worry no more for here in all their brutal honesty are the answers you've been seeking...

    I never got around to blogging the final week of the course and giving my overall view on the book, but it doesn't mean that I wasn't putting into practice some of the things I had learned. It was simply a case of being far too busy. The main event that put my blogging (in particular) on hold was the release of my album "Previously..." which wouldn't have happened anyway without the inspiration given to me by Ariel Hyatt's book. It was one of my goals to get the album project done and once started it took up a lot of my already limited spare time. I'm very glad I've done it though - after all it makes more sense to try to build fan lists and buzz once there's an actual product to market. Having an album of material out of my head also gets me excited for new songs which I hope to get done in a much shorter time frame.

    I also had a personal life change which meant that I am spending considerably more time looking after my two sons. Yes, I love them to bits and enjoy the time with them but it's frustrating to have so few available working hours in a week. The days really need to be much longer to fit everything in! It's tiring running around after kids as I'm sure a lot of you know, so my attempts to stay up really late at night to catch up have generally failed.

    These are not just excuses I'm making and no, I didn't "give up" on the challenge. The course brings up so many points that I think it would be really hard to properly implement the things taught in a chapter in just a week. As the weeks go on, more and more ideas build up and inspire your own independent thinking resulting in a time management bottleneck. So perhaps the number one thing I've learned indirectly from the book is that to create real music success you need plenty of free time! With other work that needs doing and a family to look after it's incredibly difficult to build on the things I've been taught. I'd love to be able to rely totally on my own music to pay the bills, giving me more time to spend on marketing, promotion, building a fan base and of course creating more music. I guess that's something I have to work towards this year.

    Chapter nine itself is all about leveraging your fan list to generate additional continual income opportunities targeted at specific levels of your audience. This is partly through a system that could be seen as "membership levels" and is something that I have already looked at when investigating some of the fan funding systems on the internet. It's a great idea, but I don't think I'm quite ready for it yet as I still need to work on the earlier chapters of the book. So I'll keep it on the back-burner for now and jot down any ideas I have about it for future reference.

    As for the book - I'm certainly not abandoning the ideas within. It's a very useful tool with many things that I already knew but that needed hammering into my brain and other things that I would never have thought of. It does however demand constant review and re-reading to make sure that you're sticking to the correct path. At the end of the day the ideas are no good unless you actually get off your backside and DO THEM. I'll be reading it again very soon and I'm certain the next time around more of it will make sense, more of it will sink in and more of it will get done to make me into a megastar (in my own household at least!)

  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 8

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Sep 3, 2010 - 4:30 by Bryan Page

    Another week of Music Success in Nine Weeks and we finally come to something I'm admittedly pretty bad at - networking in real life.

    One of the strengths I've developed over the last few years is socializing online - working from home has helped that along, but at the detriment of my "real" social skills. Some days I don't talk to anyone other than my family at home and most of my conversation is with myself - I have to say I'm pretty good company! Why, thanks Me - you're not so bad yourself!

    So this chapter offers advice on talking to people, and most importantly being memorable. Ironically the best way to do this is to let other people talk about themselves - something I try to do if possible. I have a very good memory for some things, but remembering people's names has always been tricky for me. I need to start to use their names directly when I talk to them - I think it's a habit that will develop and get easier.

    I use technology to help me develop a relationship with somebody - my computer/iPhone address book not only contains the information you'd expect (Name, phone number, email) but also any information I pick up on them. For example: their anniversary; names of their kids and partner; hobbies and interests... it gives me something I can always take a quick peek at in order to get a conversation started.

    Just like the book says, I've found it's often best to try to start up a conversation with somebody who isn't directly related to the music industry or your career. That lady picking her kids up from school might be married to a record producer. The guy sitting alone at a bar might have a son who is a fantastic drummer. The butcher's best friend might be the owner of the hottest music venue in town.

    I have one saving grace in my networking skill set - I am a pretty good listener. I have to try to avoid getting caught in the trap of talking to other good listeners who feed questions that result in me talking about myself too much, but if I can do that I find listening and looking interested very easy!

  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 7

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Sep 3, 2010 - 3:30 by Bryan Page
    I'm a bit late this week blogging about chapter 7 of Music Success in Nine Weeks because I've needed to let this one sink in a bit and try to let my mind do it's own thinking outside of the box.

    The aim is to build my email newsletter list. Making sure family and friends are included was the first step and was simple enough – nobody has asked not to be on the list... yet! The next step is to approach other more casual acquaintances and I'm in the process of doing that now.

    The web site is already set up to try to persuade people to part with their email address in exchange for free downloads. However I've not found this to be particularly effective – I think people still have a sense of insecurity in giving away their details. I'm going to try putting a prominent notice alongside the signup form to try to reassure potential subscribers that their information is safe. Hopefully that will catch some of those people who have hesitated and changed their minds.

    I have a number of ideas for getting new subscribers at live concerts, but at the moment I'm not gigging so I'm going to keep some of these private for the time being (I want to be the first!). Ideas revolving around raffles, competitions and giveaways do sound like they could be very effective though so I'm excited about trying them out.

    There's another idea I may try – aiming for the local market. I've got a huge pile of business cards that I've never used. I'm thinking about writing on the back of them – something like "Local area musician seeks your support - free download on the web site" and then getting rid of them by posting them through letterboxes, leaving them in cafes, on the bus etc. Also, I've got an idea for approaching local newspapers that could gain some interest.

    Ariel suggests putting time aside each week to concentrate on building your newsletter list – a great idea because it's something that would otherwise be put on the "I'll do that when I've got more time" list and would never get any attention.

    So, that's this week – anyone reading who wants to join the newsletter list can do so simply by using the signup form, or the "free downloads" button at http://JestaMusic.com – and I'd be very glad to have you!!
  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 6

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Aug 23, 2010 - 3:15 by Bryan Page

    It's often said that "content is king" and during the course of reading Music Success in Nine Weeks I'm beginning to realize just how true this is. A lot of the notes I've taken recently have started with the word "More" - more photos, more video, more anecdotes, more audio... of course the word "Better" should always be applicable too! The whole content creation process comes together to provide a backbone for this week's topic in the book - connecting with fans using newsletters.

    Firstly, if you'd like to sign up to receive the newsletter, it's simple to do so – just use the mailing list form on this webpage, or if you have any trouble just contact me and I'll add you. I have a strict policy of not giving out your email address to spammers, or anybody else for that matter. I'll send newsletters no more than 2 or 3 times a month unless there's particularly exciting news, and you'll be amongst the first to hear about any competitions, free downloads and much more.

    So, obviously a newsletter is potentially a great way to contact people – unlike social networks people know that important things come into their email box and are far more likely to check it regularly and far less likely to ignore things - particularly if the content is good.

    I've drafted up a few ideas for future newsletters and it's become very obvious that having those "More" things I mentioned is going to be of great importance otherwise the newsletter is going to be somewhat sparse! I need to begin to document my music creation more often, so that I'll have plenty of content to choose from that may be of interest to my fans.

    The next step is to begin to get into the habit of sending newsletters regularly – just like blogging it's probably one of those things that becomes much easier the more you do it!

  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 5 - Part 2

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Aug 21, 2010 - 14:45 by Bryan Page

    Week 5 of the Music Success In 9 Weeks blog challenge is one of those things that can never be crossed off a to-do list. It's become evident to me that this is something that would almost be worth employing a full-time researcher for. There's a huge number of blogs out there that focus on new music and because they are all written in very different ways, with different page designs, it's not something that you can get a clear vision of by a simple glance at a previously unseen blog.

    I've found blogs that I would love to see my music featured on – some local to me and some worldwide. I'm going to continue building the list for the moment, but haven't yet taken the next step of submitting my music. Instead, I've decided to nurture the relationship for a while through commenting on other people's posts and linking to their blog if something peaks my interest.

    Also, ideally I want blogs to talk about my imminent release rather than the few songs I've currently got available (yes, the album is closer than ever to release!).

    One thing I came across during my blog-exploring so far that puts me on a minor downer is that I've seen a fair amount of negative blogging and/or negative comments. Coupled with that, some blogs seem to be somewhat of a clique that's hard to get into. I guess life is generally like that and you have to take the rough with the smooth but I think it's a shame.

    As ever, I welcome any feedback or suggestions for interesting blogs and I'm looking forward to having some free time to do some serious reading too!

  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 5 - Part 1

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Aug 13, 2010 - 14:30 by Bryan Page
    With my hands on the Second Edition of Music Success in Nine Weeks (having the wrong version was a little confusing!) I set about looking further into a topic that I've only just started to get my head around - Blogging.

    You would think that with my above-average knowledge of social networking and podcasting that I'd have it all washed, dressed up and sent to bed with a cup of cocoa with "RSS" written on the mug. But I've actually always had a problem - well, two problems: firstly, I have little time to read and participate with other people's blogs - I generally glance at the feed in Google Reader for 0.5 seconds to make sure I'm not missing any life-changing information; secondly, despite loving English and writing at school I've let any talent I had decompose into a severe case of writer's block!

    So - on to the fixes... I'm finding that it's true what they say about writing - the more you do it the easier it becomes. Recently I'm finding it much easier to post things on the blog. I may not have many words of wisdom, and I'm certainly no Shakespeare, but it's certainly flowing far more freely than it did a few months ago.

    As for getting the attention of other blogs - that's my new project. I'm looking for any blogs that would be likely to write a review of my music, or even just give it a casual mention. If you write a blog, or know of any good ones that I should take a look at please let me know with a comment on this post, or using the contact page on my website - http://JestaMusic.com - I'll happily include any suggestions in my Blog Roll...

    ...speaking of which - I'm off to create that right now! More about this week's adventure coming soon...
  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 4

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Aug 9, 2010 - 13:30 by Bryan Page
    I pretty much breezed through this week! Chapter 4 of Music Success in Nine Weeks is all about social networking. Some people would call me a "social networking addict" but really it's just that I love web technology and I'm an early-adopter when it comes to most things.

    Okay - maybe I am an addict - just look at how many networking icons I've got on my website! I've been using all the usual suspects, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace etc. for a considerable amount of time. Some networks I don't use very often but I make sure that I update them with new status messages, news, songs, pictures and blog posts whenever possible. However, reading this chapter did make me take a look at things from a different angle and gave me some ideas of new ways to use these fantastic (and almost entirely free) services.

    I joined Twitter about three and a half years ago and I was one of those few people who "got" it immediately – and then spent ages trying to explain to my girlfriend how awesome it is! My first thought was how good it could be to send out a single message that all your friends could receive at the same time. "Going to see a band at Mo's Tavern in an hour - meet me there!"

    It didn't take long for me to realize that it could also be an amazing tool for what would effectively be free advertising and would be perfect for the independent musician trying to reach out to an audience.

    The same is true for Facebook pages - I created one as soon as they provided the ability to do so.

    One thing I'm not doing that I should do more of is uploading photographs and videos. I'm thinking that maybe I should train up my 5-year-old to take candid shots for me!

    The final part of the chapter is about getting your music on podcasts - I can proudly say that I think I've been quite successful at that over the last few years, with a few hundred shows featuring my music. I'd like to take this opportunity to once again thank those podcasters for their support!
  • blog post Report Music Success In 9 Weeks - Week 3

    Bryan Page
    Posted on Aug 4, 2010 - 7:00 by Bryan Page
    The continuing story of a man trying to find success and succeeding in being too busy to find success...

    Okay, so I'm running behind a little due to the usual big workload that comes at the end of each month. Fortunately, the tasks in Chapter 3 of Music Success in Nine Weeks were a little easier for me. The chapter is about "maximizing your website" and is something I've been thinking about for a while. I do some web development to supplement my income so I'm quite knowledgeable about the technical side of things, but I'm not really a designer or usability expert and that's where Ariel's book came in very useful. I found that my attention was drawn to things that I would perhaps normally skip over or not even think about.

    Amongst the 6 steps suggested is "have a consistent look and feel throughout the net". To some extent I had already done a lot of this - a while ago I decided that green should be "Jesta's colour" and wherever possible I've used designed my profile on social networks and other websites to at least feature some green elements, and if possible echo my website as closely as possible. I haven't taken it too far at this stage though because I'm hoping to release an album soon and want to tie in the design of the album cover with a refreshed design of the website and internet presence. I'm beginning to dislike the white text on black background so that will probably change.

    I also hope to get some new photographs soon which will no doubt feature in the redesign. To cover my lack of pictures for the time being I took a self-portrait - my arm outstretched hoping that I'm pointing the lens in roughly the correct direction! I've featured that photo on my home page and updated my profile pictures across the internet where I felt relevant.

    As for the other steps this week I had already taken care of some of them, so instead I concentrated my efforts at particular things. Firstly I really didn't like the way the content was laid out on my old home page, so I've shifted items around and I'm much happier with it now - it may not be ideal, but I can continue tweaking until the complete redesign is done.

    I've also added icons and links to anywhere Jesta can be found on the web - Twitter, Facebook, YouTube... by golly there's a lot! I've got a great little system in place that allows me to very easily add new links in various places in one go. That's where my web developer side came in very useful.

    Overall, a useful week that got me thinking about usability a lot and thinking in the mindset of a first-time visitor to my website. I'm open to feedback if you've got any comments or new ideas.

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