Invaluable Music Biz Advice

The man with the Sexiest Elbows in Rock lets you in on some of his secrets.

What To Know Before Your First Recording Session

Larry Crane, owner of Jackpot! & editor of Tape Op Magazine, with some excellent tips on how to prepare for your first recording session.

The Protesters The Women's March Forgot About

On Inauguration Day, I volunteered on a hotline providing legal support to protesters. Hundreds were arrested. Before they were out of jail, mainstream feminism had already cast them aside.

Backline with Julia Kugel

Julia Kugel, guitarist for The Coathangers, talks to us about her gear.

Backline with Mary Timony

The one and only Mary Timony talks to us about her gear for Backline.

Not All Art Scales, Not All Businesses Should

So many of the sites we rely on have big money behind them and even bigger profit motives in front of them. We have to think critically about where we build our communities, what data we give to corporations, and how (not if) they plan on monetizing us.

Backline with Janet Weiss

Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney & Quasi talks about her set up with us.

The Many Paths to Accepting Payment

Many new ways to pay for physical or digital goods are popping up seemingly every day. And with them, many more options for the types of payments you can accept. The support of your fans is now a tap, swipe, or click away.

Backline with Dana Wachs

Dana Wachs aka Vorhees is a composer, audio engineer, and producer. We talk to her about her set up.


I knew I was going to snap, and I knew it would be in the face of a friend. We only hurt the ones we love, the ones we shouldn’t hurt at all. I knew it was going to happen. The only question was, when?

The Inevitable Institutionalization of Rock

Rock lineage as a self-supporting mass-culture driver is over, as should be the preposterous and romanticizing idea that it is the music of some kind of spontaneous, youthful holy-fool effusion.

Why We Can't Forget Meg White - And the Sexist Way We Talked About Her

Indeed, it’s often hard to untangle the criticism and evaluation of Meg White: The Musician from Meg White: The Female Body. In the fan communities, on the forums and the message boards and blogs, the criticism is most unyielding and brutal.

Speak Up

What some might think of as a joke, we have to view as a threat, because the risk to not do so is too high.

Punk Trump

I know some are clamoring for a new Fugazi but I don’t know that I’d want to sit through another “Guilty of Being White” to get there.

Keep It Tidy, part 1

If you’re organizing, thinking about a protest album, or working on art critical of your government then encryption matters to you, as do privacy and safety.

No Silver Lining

We worked like we were building a wall of our own — one made of power chords, cymbal smashes and sweat — to keep out bigotry and hatred.

How to Work on Press Like a Pro

The Oregonian's David Greenwald interviews editors and writers from Noisey, Consequence of Sound, FACT and more about best practices when dealing with press.

A Practical Web Tutorial to Bystander Intervention and De-escalation Tactics

I believe that we have a deep responsibility to care for one another and for the people who come to see us play, and that though any kind of independent musical community is immensely fractured, some of those fractures can be healed by everyday thoughtfulness.

Breaking Down

I have credited music for saving my life in the past, for although it is a cliche, I know it to be true. But it wasn’t music that saved my life that day, it was my best friends.

Trademark Basics

Important information from lawyer Becki C. Lee about trademarks. Questions like do you need one, do you have one, what is it, and more are answered here.

Backline with Satomi Matsuzaki

Satomi Matsuzaki, bassist & singer in Deerhoof, talks about her set up.

Backline with Katie Gately

Katie Gately, Sound Designer, Music Producer, talks about her set up.

Becoming a Believer - How Rock Music Saved My Life

I found something that not only distracted me from my anxious thoughts, but also soothed them and loosened their hold over the limited space in my brain.

Who Are You And What Are You Doing Here

The Self-Sabotaging Scourge of Imposter Syndrome in the Music Industry

Why I Won't Tour Anymore

I’m done being in a cramped van every day. I’m done being in a loud, dirty club every night. I’m done living in a world in which alcohol is more prevalent, and considered more valuable, than food.

Backline with Fabi Reyna

Fabi Reyna, guitarist and editor/founder of the fabulous She Shreds talks about her set up.

The Transmigration of Art

There is something intensely private in the act of listening to music, the way a song can feel like a very real, personal communication with the artist.

It’s All In Your Head: Shutting Up The Voices That Tell You “No”

There’s something so terrifying about putting yourself in a position where you could possibly be rejected, harshly criticized or worst of all…ignored.

Selling Out

The song had summed up so much about what we adored and feared in life - love, beauty, and the permanence and inescapable reality of death. Now the song was being used to sell us a mid-size sedan.

Backline with Jessica Boudreaux

Jessica Boudreaux of Summer Cannibals talks about her set up

Backline with Kathy Foster

Kathy Foster of The Thermals & Hurry Up talks about her set up

Copyright Basics: Sound Recordings & Musical Compositions

As an artist or an artist’s representative, it is critical to understand at least the basics of what rights you control in your art, and how best to monetize those rights.

Surviving Your First (and second... and each one after) Tour

An important part of career longevity for any musician is live performance. An album cycle can call for over a year working on the road and the fact that a single 4 week tour has ended many bands is enough to cause anxiety in even the most seasoned road vets the first day out.

Speaking two entirely different languages.

(If you don’t believe me, ask your nearest recording engineer what “API” stands for, then ask your nearest web developer.) But more importantly, working in both worlds sometimes feels like oscillating between two entirely different value systems.

You don't need a publicist (for real)

I do not hold the magic key to your success kingdom.

Interview Series: EP.3 - Meredith Graves & DVS

Certain themes in music evoke feelings whether you want them to or not.

Creating Space For Creating Art

Everyone has a story or a perspective, a song or a painting. But some people may not realize they do because space has never been made for them, or they’ve never been handed the tools. Lots of folks have aimless energy; a desire to make something happen that’s bigger than themselves, but nowhere to do it.

Synch Licensing Basics

It’s selling out!” “It’s the savior of the music business!” “Some dickhead put my favorite song on a commercial!” “I’M CONFUSED!!!” Welcome to synch licensing!

Time To Find A Pro

We never took on a manager because it just never felt right.

Open Is Hope

Open brings collective strength and moves functionality from closed systems into spaces that everyone can use, shape, and embrace.

Christopher Sutton

Music, simply put, is life.

Making your band an LLC.

When, why, and how do you set up an LLC for your band?

Envisioning a World Where No One's Voice is Silenced

In the Middle East in particular, acts of violence and occupation limit the growth of society. Regardless of whether a powerful voice is silenced by censorship, prison, or even death, the end result is the same in that the more powerful take away the voices of the less powerful.

How To Be A Valuable Member Of A Rock Band When You Don't Write The Lyrics

In my 20 plus years as a drummer and collaborator, I have learned to contribute to the creative process by being kickass, a good bandmate, and by following these 8 simple rules.

Welcome to Watt

I believe deeply that being a musician is an important and valid vocation. Watt is here to help make it easier to be one.

The Career of Being Myself

I am consensually working these long-ass, impossible hours to be paid in less money, but more freedom.

Why Am I Doing This To Myself?

This independent creative life has myriad simultaneous jobs, no days off, no assurance of security and requires extreme self-­discipline.

Valuing The Freedom To Make Art

At Watt, we can look at the music industry in a way that highlights a lot of things that don't fit into the editorial mission at most publications, but will help both the industry and the outside see the music business in a new and imperative light.

Colin Meloy

I think that artists’ voices are now, more than ever, being amplified and projected. More tools are available; middlemen left and right are being made irrelevant — and in many ways that’s a good thing. The real question is how can we reattribute VALUE to those voices.

Kim Boekbinder

The corporate content hegemony is worse than ever and we're stuck squabbling over the pitiful amounts of money our streaming overlords let slip through their grasp, or clinging to ad agencies and music supervisors like life rafts.

Horace Panter

Time stood still. It was transcendental. I knew then that playing music was the greatest thing in the world.

Danielle Henderson

It's okay to take small measures. It's okay to listen to the needs of the artists around us, and lend encouragement, support, and resources..

J. Edward Keyes

That's always been the music that's excited me the most, when artists question the accepted - in culture, in song structure, in production methods - and tear everything down so they can build it back up again in their own way.

Laura Snapes

I think [music] the greatest source of joy and comfort of all art forms. And done right, it can foster understanding of and openness to other ways of being like nothing else can.

Nathan Larson

But like all new tech the potential for discovery and access is mind-blowing, and beyond good and evil. The fact is the sample group of kids I have access to are as likely to know as much about obscure '60s garage punk stuff, or classic hip hop, or 'classic' punk rock, and that's extremely fucking cool.

Interview Series: EP.1 (Teaser) - Jean Grae & Ted Leo

Either consciously or subconsciously music is, other than math, the universal language that we can communicate with.

Jenn Schiffer

Music has a way of telling us how horrible and wonderful life is at the same time and it magically makes that reality easy to digest.

Jamie Stewart

The impact [music] has is that it gives living a context and momentum

Beth Ditto

[Music]s everywhere all the time and I don't think people realize what kind of an impact it really has.

The Haxan Cloak

For musicians to be truly heard we need to be empowered with tools to build our own framework. Existing foundations need to become malleable.

Interview Series: EP.2 (Teaser) - Jubilee & Hot Sugar

It’s everywhere all the time and I don’t think people realize what kind of an impact it really has.

Dan Deacon

Can you manage a world without music or the arts? It’s kind of like imagining a world without adjectives.

Ann Friedman

Music is a memory aid, a muscle relaxant, an aphrodisiac, a pain reliever, an anxiety suppressant, a mood enhancer.

Tutorial #1: How To Create A Store

A quick tutorial to run you through setting up your own CASH Music store element.

Zola Jesus

Music speaks far beyond words. It is a capsule for the human condition.

Astra Taylor

It almost feels like one of the elements. There's air, water, dirt, fire, and music.

Henry Rollins - The impact of music in our world

If that’s how you’re listening to music—you’re only ripping yourself off.

Mark Surman, executive director, Mozilla Foundation

Music is a guiding force, able to steer people toward communities and causes they're passionate about. ...I've been drawn to social causes and organizations that embody that punk passion and sincerity. In a way, music made me.

I Hear The Music

A visual response

Sir Foster

Artists are just as important as scientists, doctors, mathematicians and the like.

John Roderick

People want art and need art, they crave it and seek it.

Jumping Off Cliffs

Art directly creates our culture, driving ideas and enabling communication that goes far beyond language alone.