121 ADVICE UPDATE – We are now offering our 122 Surgeries online thru Zoom. How’s that for 2 metres, Boris? Apply in the same way you would normally, deets at No. 29.
Please note all our educational resources – videos, useful contacts, school tour deets, suggested reading, workshop deets etc are in our Academy pages – Resources, Surgeries and Workshops.
We exist to help Nottinghamshire musicians, it’s that simple.
We try hard to make sure all the ways we can help you are shared transparently and fairly, with Nusic it is never about knowing the ‘right people’, it’s about getting off your arse and doing the reading. That said, our educational events mentioned above, strive to help you meet the right people in other music organisations. We also try where possible to explain the reasoning behind decisions so you understand why things are done the way they are – why Future Sessions are for under 26s, why it’s editorial policy to always be positive, why we focus on musicians at the start of their career etc. Below in our Frequently Asked Questions section we share how to get involved with every opportunity we offer and ask all the questions that we, well, find you asking us frequently.
A GOOD START IS OUR ADVICE VIDEO SERIES…
Pssst, little tip – press ctrl (or Apple key for Mac users) + f and then type in the number you want to get there quickly.
1. How do I get played on the Nusic New Music Podcast?
2. How do I listen to the Nusic New Music Podcast?
3. How do I get a Nusic Future Session?
4. Do you only support musicians?
5. How do we know you’re fair and don’t just do what your supporters want?
6. How do we know you’re fair and don’t just play musicians you work with in other aspects of your life?
7. Why do you focus on young musicians?
8. Can you give me any advice on starting out in music?
8A.Can you give me any advice on who else can help me?
9. What counts as Notts?
10. How do I become “release of the week” or “video of the week?”
11. Do you only play unsigned music?
12. Do you play covers?
13. What about samples?
14. Can you co-promote/ partner with us on our gig?
15. What’s the legal situation with being played on the New Music Podcast?
16.Can you help me find a drummer? Singer? Producer? Etc
17. Staffing Policy?
18. Do you offer work experience? How do I become an intern?
19. How do you ensure you treat musicians fairly?
20. How Do You Decide What To Play On The New Music Podcast?
20A. Why do you only play 120 seconds of the tracks?
21. What is your social media policy? How do you stay consistent and fair??
22. How do I get on Splendour? I’ve heard you lot choose the (local) acts is that true?
23. Do you know where I can get started doing gigs?
24. How do you stay fair? How do you avoid Conflict/s of Interest?
25. Do you know which record shops in Nottingham sell local music?
26. Why are you always so positive?
27. Why have you not played my song yet?
28. How do I sign up for your email list
29. None of the above have answered my question, can I get a meeting with you?
1. How Do I Get Played On The New Music Podcast? Send your Hi-Res, correctly labeled MP3s or WAVS, with full info on your Nottingham roots to NUSIC@leftlion.co.uk.
If your file is large, a Dropbox or Google Drive link is preferred. Only WeTransfer is needed (due to the expiration time limit).
WE CANNOT PLAY YOUR MUSIC UNLESS YOU SEND IT TO US.
YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO PLAY BY SENDING – SEE LEGAL BIT AT FAQ 15 BELOW
2. How do I listen to the New Music Podcast? There are many ways you can listen:
– By pressing the play button to the ‘middle right’ of any podcast post on the Nusic blog. This lets you stream the podcast.
– By streaming or downloading via www.leftlion.co.uk
3. How Do I Get A Nusic Future Session?? We pick from the most exciting young (25 and under, if a band average age of members must be 25 or under) undiscovered Notts musicians that we receive demos from for the New Music Podcast, so make sure that MP3 Demo is your best stuff! By undiscovered we mean you have not had previous media exposure of this type (a professional session e.g with your local BBC, commercial radio station etc, student / internet / hospital radio is fine), you’re a session virgin!
We’re about giving that first break. You will be asked to confirm that you are session virgins, 25 or under (on the day you are offered the session), from Nottingham and of course that you can perform live. We are well up for all genres including MCs and electronic producers BUT you must be able to perform live If you think you qualify email us via NUSIC@leftlion.co.uk. Please do not email us for the podcast and a Future Session in the same email, email separately as we file in different places. Not doing this is the number one reason applications get mislaid.
Explaining the above in more detail. We do not have enough resources to help all the musicians we want to, there is simply too much talent in Nottingham, we’re overwhelmed by your awesomeness! Therefore we have to be selective in some way, quite simply we can help younger artists near the start of their career more than older artists who’ve ‘been there done that’. In addition our teams are all around twenty years old, it’s tricky for a twenty year old sound engineer to guide a 35 year old guitarist.
Finally re the professional session thing, if you’ve had a session with the BBC that’s had a gazillion million views, what’s the point doing one that’ll get a 1000? Well we do have a strong industry viewership amongst that thousand odd so there’s some point but when we have a six month waiting list we can’t prioritise someone who’s already had a lot of support over a bunch of seventeen year olds who’ve had nothing. Hope you understand where we’re coming from, we’re trying to help, in as fair way as possible. On the other side of this if you have had a filmed session for a hospital radio station that’s had seventeen views (half of whom are now dead) we’re not going to disqualify you for that, hence our focus on ‘professional session’ as the cut off point.
FUTURE SESSION GREY AREAS:
1) New band, exactly same people. In this situation we cannot offer another Future Session.
2) Some of you, but not the singer, have been in a band/combo/act etc that have had a Future Session before. If less than half of the new project have been involved in a previous Future Session then there is no issue.
3) If more than half the project, but not all of em, have had a Future Session then at least a year must have passed.
4) If the new project involves a singer who has had a Future Session as a solo artist, then at least two years must have passed.
Re the above we do not count appearances as a session player otherwise this would potentially discourage musicians from helping each other out in this capacity e.g artists like Frazer Lowrie and Motormouf have appeared in several sessions as a session player, but only once as part of their own projects.
4. Do you only support musicians? – Primarily yes. Although through our work experience opportunities we give quite a lot of help to aspirational music producers/ engineers, event managers and journalists, check this link HERE.
5. How do we know you’re fair and don’t just do what your supporters want? – Fair question, it’s a classic challenge for any media output that is dependant on the support of others, which basically means everyone except the Beeb (which is backed by the licence fee, although increasingly the BBC is doing commercial events too, such as the £27.75 a ticket BBC Introducing Amplify event at Excel in October 2017).
It comes back to our Editorial Court. Any gig put on by say LeftLion or DHP gets scrutinised at least as much as any other, in fact knowing perception can equal reality, gigs by supporters are scrutinised with extra intensity. Any track by a Confetti student gets as scrutinised for New Music Podcast selection as an artist from any other education establishment. If we end up playing a musician who’s part of the Nusic team we will declare that on the show so you know, even the professionals aren’t this transparent. Hear an example, twelve songs into this episode, of the New Music Podcast: http://www.nusic.org.uk/wordpress/nusic-new-music-podcast-178-234-tracklisting/
The one set of editorial decisions that are ‘kinda impacted’ by Supporters are the two to three Future Session slots a year that are given to winners of musician supporting events put on by Supporters of ours, such as Nottingham Music Hub’s Noise From The Next Generation and Confetti ICT’s NTU Battle of the Bands. This is acknowledged in the specific sessions.
6. How do we know you’re fair and don’t just play musicians you work with in other aspects of your life? Another fair question, another classic challenge for any media output that is teamed by volunteers and part-timers. If your team don’t pay their bills full time with you, can you expect them to forgo other activities? Particularly when working in an area such as music, where it’s intrinsic that you fucking love what you do.
Not letting them do other musical shiz would effectively ‘punish’ them for helping out. So our answer is to be transparent. We will declare any potential internal Conflicts of Interest so that things are TT (totes transparent). Additionally, certain opportunities will be off limits. For example if a member of the Nusic Team manages an artist, that artist would not be allowed to enter the Future Sound of Nottingham. But they would be allowed to be played on the New Music Podcast (with the appropriate transparency declaration). See the CoI page HERE for current Conflicts of Interest.
7. Why do you focus on young musicians? The key word there is focus, we’re not totally exclusively about musicians under 25 but they are our focus, for a number of reasons:
1) With our limited resources we can make the most difference with young musicians. It’s easier to excite, inspire and/ or educate a 17 year old than a ‘been there, done it’ 38 year old.
2) Sometimes we have received grants from the public sector, they are normally from funding pots linked to supporting young people.
3) Older musicians often demand a standard we can’t achieve. Our team is mostly eager students looking to learn about music and media, whilst their raw talent may be significant we do make mistakes. A 19 year old sound engineer on one of our sessions is going to struggle to keep a 36 year old band member (who’s been producing his own music for two decades) happy.
It’s worth noting that currently only two of our activities have a definite age limit – the Future Sessions (25 and under) and our School Tour (obvs). Podcasts, FSN, Workshops etc are all open to everyone, whilst we focus our marketing efforts on reaching out to those under 25.
8. Can You Give Me Any Advice On Starting Out In Music?? This is what the NUSIC ACADEMY has evolved to try and help with. We host regular Advice workshops with Industry pros (see ACADEMY and CO-OPerative) and we do events in schools for our SCHOOL TOURS. There’s also our Advice Video series at www.nusic.org.uk/advice.
8A. Can you give me any advice on who else can help me? Yes! Our press / media contacts page has a list of all the media outlets as well as us who support local music, you can check that here. Via our #OpportunityAlert twitter service, and our Advice Fairs at our #NusicAcademyWorkshops, we help get word of other entities that support local musicians, out to you e.g. free studio time.
9. What Counts As Notts? Great question! Basically if you were born here, live here (including studying here at Uni) or if now further afield still consider Notts (Great County of Nottinghamshire and/ or Greater Nottingham Urban Area) your home (maybe you have gone to Uni elsewhere) then you count. We also support material from Nottingham based independent record labels as they are such a central part of our music scene and culture. For a band or any other kind of musical grouping over half the members must meet the above criteria.
A great current example of this are the band ROLO TOMASSI. Originally from Sheffield three of the five members now live in Nottingham so they count. Artists who came to Uni here and then left are a very grey area. Broadly if they met during their time in Nottingham and so wouldn’t exist without Notts, and they acknowledge that then we count them, LONDON GRAMMAR are a great example of this (see them telling their story here). Artists who move on from Notts and pay no attention to it, we also pay no attention to. Acknowledging the increasing pattern of students graduating, going home for a bit whilst they try and sort digs as grown ups back in Notts, we always count graduates for the first year post graduation.
Further education students studying in Nottinghamshire but not living here are another grey area, baring in mind it’s a great thing if students from Derby, Lincoln etc choose to commute here to study cause they want to be part of the music scene, with a view to moving here when 18, we obviously want to encourage that so we do count further education students living outside Nottinghamshire/ Greater Nottingham Urban Area but studying a music related course at a Nottinghamshire/ Greater Nottingham Urban Area college.
FYI the Greater Nottingham Urban Area does include towns and villages that are actually in the county of Derbyshire, you can clarify precisely which ‘grey area’ locations fall into the Greater Nottingham Urban Area by checking it’s wiki page (that’ll be totes accurate right?) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nottingham_Urban_Area
10. How Do I become ‘release of the week’ or ‘video of the week’? Send us all the info on the release plus background on your Notts roots to NUSIC@leftlion.co.uk. Ideally at least TWO weeks in advance.
11. Do you only play ‘Unsigned Music’? ISH. We’re not quite as anal on this as in our ‘Notts Unsigned’ days (the name did tend to create certain expectations). The reasons for being more relaxed include:
1) It’s so easy to start your own label these days, being ‘signed’ doesn’t have the same meaning it used to.
2) We want to support Independent labels based in Nottingham, they’re a vital part of our scene.
3) Even if a Nottingham artists has now signed to a big label we like to do some stuff with that artist (if they’ll allow us) as it enables us to reach out to their broader fanbase and convert them to less established Nottinghamshire artists e.g our #SpreadTheLove campaigns when that signed artist releases their debut album.
12. Do you play covers? No. We only play original music for two reasons. Firstly (and most importantly) we want to encourage original song writing, secondly covers bring up legal issues with the podcast and sessions.
13. What about samples? – This is a very grey area! And there are two main areas of greyness. 1) The legality of playing a tune that features copyrighted audio. 2) If it’s a long sample that means it starts to sound like a cover. We have to judge this on a case by case basis. Our broad rule of thumb is that a sample longer than four bars starts to raise eyebrows, longer than eight bars and we may well feel unable to play it. Obviously the sample can be looped ad Infinitum. Official HipHop term that.
14. Can you co-promote/ partner with us on our gig? No. We get asked this every day, we’re a media organisation, not promoters, Nottingham is not lacking in awesome promoters! You don’t need us jumping on the bandwagon, it’s our job to be neutral and promote the scene as fairly and equitably as possible. That said sometimes really big events will invite us to partner/ jump aboard our Notts Music philosophy, in such cases, where we feel the mass exposure gained will benefit the greater good, then we may collaborate e.g. Splendour. Basically we are musical communists, we aspire to help lots of people a decent bit, not musical tories trying to help a small number a lot.
15. What’s The Legal Situation With Being Played On The New Music Podcast?? By submitting your musical composition you warrant that you own the publishing and master rights in the musical composition and hereby waive the following rights (only in the context of the Nusic New Music Podcast):
- 1. the right to recover performance royalties under blanket licenses, including the right to collect such royalties individually or through a performance rights society.
- 2. the right to recover mechanical rights or statutory royalties.
- 3. the right to recover any royalty that may be applicable for public digital performance of the composition, such as webcasting or podcasting.
TRANSLATION OF LEGAL SPEAK = Basically the above says you give us permission to play and will not sue us! We obviously support and buy tracks ourselves personally but we cannot play on the podcast unless you give us permission, which you do by sending us the track.
We commit to you to not play more than 120 seconds of your track.
16. Can you help me find a drummer? Singer? Producer? Etc. Yes! We have three ways we can help with this. Firstly post on our facebook group here. Secondly tweet us what you are after and we’ll retweet you. Thirdly come to one of our Workshops and join in one of our Spread The Love sessions, these are specifically aimed at hooking up musicians with other musicians.
17. Staffing Policy? NUSIC is staffed entirely by part-timers and volunteers, mainly the latter via our internship programme. As such the ‘quality’ and consistency of content, particularly reviews and Future Sessions, will vary depending on how experienced the particular intern is and whether the content area is their area of passion e.g. a radio intern may find writing a review challenging.
18. Do you offer work experience? How do I become an intern? Apply! Our interns are selected from the stand out candidates who have conducted our one day work experience placement which you can apply for by emailing NUSIC@leftlion.co.uk. Email us 50 words on these three subjects: your passion for New Music, your passion for Nottingham and your passion for pancakes. More details on internships, work experience and volunteering opps are in our volunteer page – nusic.org.uk/volunteer
19. How Do You Ensure You Treat Musicians Fairly? By trying our hardest to do so! Our Third Commandment ‘Thou Shall Honour and Play All Forms and Genres of New Music’ highlights our fundamental love of music in all its forms, there are no ‘New Music = Bands’ misnomers at NUSIC. Equally, we can only play what we get sent (literally – we do not illegally download, we only play songs we have been given specific permission to play), and traditionally over half is guitar based music. Gender wise over three quarters of the music we receive is male fronted, despite our efforts with the Nusic School Tour (we do not visit any all male schools).
20. How Do You Decide What To Play On The New Music Podcast? Our foremost thought is to comply with the Four Commandments as well as our philosophy of focusing support on young, yet to be recognised talent. Other / complementary factors include:
– PROGRAMMING FLOW – like a dj set making sure the podcast flows e.g track 2 on the NMP is normally an electronic music track as they work well in that position.
– AGE – we do play all ages, but young musicians are our focus and if forced to choose between a bunch of raw, as yet un-supported 17 year olds and maturer more seasoned musicians we will play the younger ones.
– GENRE – in keeping with the Third Commandment we make sure each show represents all genres, if in a particular week we have had lots of bands then a band may miss out to a HipHop track as we ensure that musical balance.
– EMOTION – we’re human. The above shows we try and be as objective and transparent as possible. Ultimately as music lovers if a particular track really connects with us on a personal level then that’s going to help its chance of getting played. On the objective vibe we hope if one of us doesn’t personally feel a track our aspiration to be supportive allows us to see passed that personal reaction.
– MAKE A POINT – we like playing totally random/ eclectic tracks e.g Kid Party Entertainers, to make the point we love and support all genres.
– SUPPORT – if we have to choose between a track being supported elsewhere and a track with no support we’ll always play the latter, we’re all about giving up and coming artists that first encouraging nod. We can’t get you on Glasto or Leeds like the BBC or NME, but we can inspire you to become good enough for the BBC or NME to take notice, and then they’ll put you on Glastonbury!
20A. Why do you only play 120 seconds of the tracks? There are four main reasons for this:
– As a downloadable podcast, if we played the whole track we’d effectively be giving the track away, potentially denying the artist a sale.
– By playing the heart of the song we hope to give the listener enough of the track to fall in love with it whilst leaving them wanting more, and so hopefully going to find out more about the artist and buy the track once it is available.
– As an all genre podcast we want to encourage listeners to listen to the whole pod including the tracks in genres they do not like. By keeping the podcast snappy, listeners are more likely to stick with us through a track they are not feeling, then if they know the song will be on for five minutes. We exist to expose artists to new potential fans, we can’t do that if no one is listening.
– Linking all three of the above The New Music Podcast was conceived as a snappy, (hopefully) fun, introduction to the incredible New Music, across all genres, being created by local musicians. As such we felt it needed to be nearer twenty mins than sixty, being a length that was easily digestible on the bus to school or tram to college. Not even our mums will listen regularly if the pod is three hours long.
21. What are your twitter / instagram / facebook / social media policies? How do you stay consistent and fair? – Our Twitter and Facebook policies are outlined in detail HERE.
22. How do I get on Splendour? I’ve heard you lot choose the (local) acts is that true? We’re regularly asked for artist suggestions by all kinds of promoters, the most significant being Splendour as it is a prominent (profile wise), large (audience wise) and unique (venue, experience) gig that act as an inspiring experience that will hopefully encourage artists to push on with their career. Every year we provide the Splendour’s promoter with a list of local musicians 25 or under who have never played the festival before, this fits with our values of lobbying to secure inspiring oportunities for young musicians. Over the years Splendour have used approximately three quarters of our nominations, we chose those nominations from the musicians who have sent their music in for play on the podcast (so make sure you have sent in your best song!). Then of course there is also the FUTURE SOUND OF NOTTINGHAM.
22A I have a Future Sound of Nottingham question? We have tried our best to answer any and all FSN questions, on the FSN page, which can be found HERE.
23. Do you know where I can get started doing gigs? – We can certainly recommend a good few places to start. Advice Guide No. 6’s PDF lists all of the venues / promoters / open mics we are aware of that give first gigs, including contacts. You can find that HERE.
Advice Video No.6 features tips on how to approach those promoters / venues, the kind of things you should have in place, what to expect etc. You can watch that HERE.
24. How do you stay fair? How do you avoid Conflict/s of Interest? – By trying our best to. We have weekly editorial meetings re the Top 3 where we debate what we each consider to be the strongest gigs of the coming week, every person putting forward a certain gig is asked to imagine they’re in court making the case for that gig, considering matters such as the amount of local artists playing (the one situation when non-Notts artists are considered is that of when the non-Notts artist is well known and so it’s an achievement for the local artist, to be supporting that artist), artist diversity, artist quality (the hardest thing to discuss objectively) and genre diversity across the line-up. Price of entry is also a factor. A gig charging £9.50 for exactly the same line-up you can see another day at The Maze for £3, or Jam Cafe for free, is going to struggle in Editorial Court.
Everyone is asked to be open about any personal connections to the gig (is Mark Del DJing at it? Is one of our interns performing at it? Etc), this is not held against them or the gig, but it does place an onus on them to make a strong(er) case in the ‘Editorial Court’. Editorial Court is the analogy we use for editorial discussions. Team members have to make the case for the editorial decision they are advocating, as precisely, objectively and evidence backed as possible. Just as if in court. We apply this editorial process to all editorial decisions such as who gets played on the New Music Podcast.
When there is a potential Conflict of Interest (CoI), we declare that in the discussion, we declare it here on nusic.org.uk on our Conflict of Interest page plus, if it doesn’t sound / appear wanky*, in the specific piece of content.
*For example Annie Mac does not tell you Toddla T is her husband every time she play’s a tune of his, cause it would sound wanky (and repetitive). But she will have had to declare that connection, to the BBC editorial team, as per their CoI policy/ies (which you can see more of HERE).
Additionally. Our intern, volunteer and work experience programmes help ensure new perspectives are constantly contributing to our editorial discussion.
25. Do you know which record shops in Nottingham sell local music?
Note: this has probs been impacted by COVID, so check yourself too.
Rough Trade – RT stock local music throughout the store, and certain local labels (Earache etc) have their own stall.
Fopp – Fopp stock big label releases by Notts artists, however, alongside this they do have a local music playlist every Tuesday. If you drop ’em a copy of your EP, you may just hear yourself over their speakers.
HMV – Stock local music – go and say hello!
Pendulum Records – Quote direct from the owner “If local artists come and see us with a professional product we are happy to stock them.”
Mimm – They do stock local music, although it’s probs best to go direct to the shop and talk to them about it. At the minute for example, they’re stocking music by CONGI, as well as putting a few Notts artists on their compilation which they’ll be selling in store.
26. Why Are You Always So Positive? We love Nottingham and its New Music scene and we only want to support it. We are not interested in acerbic wannabe music journo style reviews showing off a command of the English language whilst squashing the hopes and aspirations of their musical victim! We always look for, focus on and extenuate the positive and make no apology for doing so. We are here to support not shatter the aspirations of local musicians.
27. Why have you not played my song yet? There are a number of possible reasons:
1) You have not sent your track in officially – tweeting us, writing on our facebook wall etc does not count. You must email your track, in the ways outlined above in FAQ1, to the official nusic email address email@example.com . We do advise you to send your music in digitally as outlined in FAQ1, not physically.
2) You have sent your track in but not labelled it correctly so we do not know who you are.
3) We have lost it, this does happen.
4) Bad luck, for example our iTunes committed suicide the other day and we lost all tracks since our last back up.
5) The recording quality isn’t good enough and/ or contains basic errors such as wrong notes or out of key singing.
6) Our ears thought there were fourteen better and/ or more appropriate tracks to play on that particular podcast.
As you can see many of the reasons for ‘non-play’ are within your hands, do the basics such as sending to the right place and label your music properly and you can massively increase your chances of getting played (this applies to all media outlets not just us). There are also some factors that come down to luck, so it is always worth sending your music in again (this applies to any media entity).
28. How do I sign up for your email list? Pls email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title – ‘sign me up to your newsletter’. And we’ll do it. Simples.
29. None of the above have answered my question, can I get a meeting with you? The three main ideas behind an extensive FAQs list like the above are to be fair, transparent and efficient. Nusic is a hobby that has got out of hand meaning we’re always pretty pushed for time so need be a bit ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ at times. During Corona-ville, we’ve took our 121 advice sessions online (via Zoom). If you’d like some advice goodness for yourself – pls email email@example.com w/ the subject line ‘121 Advice’ and ideally a summary of what you want help on. We’ll book you in at the soonest available opp.