With technology making it easier to listen to and to access more music than ever before, it’s getting harder and harder for people to comply with the direction “send me your music” for PoleCon or even any studio showcase. Despite the newest generation (I’m old so you kids can “get off my lawn!”) being digital natives, I’m finding that the ease of technology and music services means no one knows how where their favorite songs actually “live.” Gone are the good ole days of Nabster when we hoarded harddrive space to store our ill begotten digital gains. Now everything exists somewhere in the cloud, searchable and streamable everywhere — except in your next showcase.
“But I’ll just hand you my phone!”
In the words of my stage manager Crystal, “what you’re not gonna do” is hand me your phone in the middle of a show. When you take part in a showcase, you are sharing the stage with lots of other people. You can’t just hand your phone with your Spotify account over to the DJ or sound engineer. Why?
- Poor reception
- Your phone locks itself
- Takes time to switch devices
- Device doesn’t automatically work/sync/plug in to speaker system
- Any other number of technical issues that can come up and ruin your performance or someone else’s
When you send in a music file, that file is tested on the system to confirm it actually plays and to test the sound levels. Some music is set at a higher volume while others are set at a lower volume. A great sound engineer can compensate for both so you don’t torture your audiences’ ears. Your music is also put into the show order so the show runs efficiently and quickly from one performer to the other.
“But I can’t get the song off my phone!”
Oh but you can!
- Find your music in your iTunes on your computer
- Gift someone a song from iTunes
- Steal from YouTube: use a link like this (there are others) to capture a song from YouTube. Please note this will download the video + the audio. You can separate the video from the audio using a tool like QuickTime.
- Spotify — find the song you like and then try 1-3 above. Most Spotify songs can also be found and captured on YouTube.
“Why can’t you just get it off of iTunes?”
First, you should never make the organizer pay for your music. Do them the courtesy of gifting it to them at the very least. Second, for many popular songs there are tons of versions, covers, radio edits, explicit/clean and other iterations of your song. I have no idea which is the one you’ve been practicing to! Make sure you send the exact version you intend to dance to, cut to the length you expect.
“Can’t you just fade out the last big?”
Ah—no. Make sure you send the exact cut so there’s no awkward stops or cuts in the track. It’s easy to trim the ends of your song. I can be harder to remove a verse in the middle but still possible even if you have no audio experience. Try experimenting with the free tools below — just don’t do it the day before tor music is due or you might have an issue.
- Trimming — QuickTime Mac
- Trimming — PC
- A free/mostly free audio tool like WavePad will give you more advanced editing options more than just trimming.
“I can’t send a file that big!”
A good rule of thumb is that most emails can easily send/receive 5MB files. If your file is larger, use a free, cloud storage service like DropBox or GoogleDrive and the send the link to download the files to the organizer.
“What’s the right file?”
There are many types. MP3, MP4 and MP4A are the most common. You may also have a .wav or .aiff file. Confirm which is acceptable with your showcase organizer.
With any form of technology there will be issues, try to mitigate those issues by starting early and exploring the tools and techniques listed above. If you have questions — please ask and don’t wait until the last minute!