How To Care For your Fiddle or Violin While Traveling

This post may contain affiliate links

From Montana, we drove to Austin, then we flew to Costa Rica. Then we flew back to Austin, then we flew to Portugal then Italy then Bali then Cambodia then Thailand and then Singapore then Australia then New Zealand then Canada then Peru.

While doing all of this travel my fiddle was in some of the strangest climates on Earth. We went from hot to cold, humid to dry, high-elevation to low elevation, and even a life at sea for a month.

After getting back to Montana I saw one of my favorite fiddle gurus on planet Earth whose name is Lisa Barrett. she judged the fiddle contests that my brother and I played in as kids and she is a world-renowned violin and instrument luthier.

Lisa took one look at my fiddle and could almost tell me exactly where I had been and what damage was done to my fiddle.

After hiring her to fix my fiddle by removing the top and adjusting the blocks, soundpost, bridge, strings, and everything in between, I implored her to tell me all about how to care for my fiddle going forward so that this doesn’t happen again.

Being a professional fiddle/violin player you would think that I would already know how to properly care for a violin but apparently I did not. In this post I’m going to share all that I learned and how to avoid an expensive repair bill after you travel around the world like we did. Let’s dive In.

What is an ok humidity range for my violin or fiddle?

Lisa told me to purchase a small humidity gauge that can live in my fiddle case and monitor the humidity to keep it between 40-60%.

In order to lower the humidity she had me purchased a bag of silica gel packs that reduce the humidity and are usually used to protect electronics etc during shipment.

Here’s the bag that I bought, they’re very cheap and useful and now I put them in my laptop sleeve, headphone case, studio case, pretty much everywhere I don’t want moisture ruining my gear.

What temperature is ok for my fiddle or violin?

This one wasn’t as much of a problem for me but you definitely want to keep your violin out of extreme heat and extreme cold. It’s made of wood and glue, and it’s under a high amount of tension.

This means too cold and it’ll get brittle and break, too hot and it’ll literally melt the glue that holds it together.

What to do when flying on an airplane with your fiddle or violin?

This one is pretty crucial, and Lisa told me that I need to loosen the strings whenever I fly, and give my violin a few days if possible in the new location before tightening it back up.

You don’t want to loosen the strings so much that the sound post falls out, just enough to relax the neck and body so there’s room for it to tighten up a little if it needs to.

I’ve really realized that these things are living and breathing like us, so you have to let it acclimate to all the changes in conditions, same as you would for your body.

Best music instrument insurance for travelers

Before we left to travel the world, I did a very wise thing, which was purchase instrument insurance from MusicPro.

After paying a hefty repair bill from the damage to my fiddle, I was able to submit it to MusicPro and they reimbursed the cost except for a $100 deductible.

I would highly recommend purchasing insurance through them and the good part is under the same policy, you can get all your gear insured.

I had my computer, my wife’s computer, my speakers, guitars, violins, recording input, microphone, keyboard, cameras, just about everything that helps me make music.

The insurance is cheap so there’s really no reason not to do it.

Conclusion

Ok I think that’s all I’ve got on this matter of caring for your violin. I learned a lot from letting my fiddle get out of hand and hopefully it will help you avoid my mistakes.

I’m not an expert by any means in this area, this post is simply meant to shine some light on the matter.

Please comment or reach out if I could improve this post or if you have any questions/comments.

Ross

++——->>

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

The Complete Buyers Guide To Used Pelican Cases

This post may contain affiliate links

Everyone knows Pelican cases are amazing. Pushing your high-value gear into that foam for safekeeping is one of the best feelings one can have.

In this post, you’ll find a full list of where to buy used Pelican cases so we can save money and still keep our gear safe while traveling.

If you know of any other places that I’ve missed here, please leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to the post for people to use.

Ok here we go:

Where to buy used Pelican cases online

You might not know it but Amazon has a ‘warehouse’ feature that you can search and find lots of great gear. I did a search for Pelican and you can check out the options below, this is the first place I would start looking.

CLICK HERE

The following locations are a little harder to find what you need but worth a look:

Satphone Outfitters

Sweetwater

Facebook marketplace

Ebay

Letgo

Let me know if you have other places that sell used pelican cases and I’ll add them here!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

How To Setup Your Phone With Google Voice To Travel Long Term

My sister in law recently moved to Spain and she kept paying Verizon huge amounts of money to keep her phone service.

When I heard about this I told her she needs to port her phone to google voice and download the voice app. Then when she gets to a new country she just buys a cheap local sim card and makes calls and sends messages from her old phone number through the Voice app.

No more paying Verizon huge amounts of money to keep your phone number while international traveling.

Here’s how to do it…

Go to Google.com/voice and set up your account with your Google account.

Important! Check with your service provider to see if their is a termination fee for canceling your service.

If you sort out the cancellation fee, then go to google.com/voice and find the option to port your number to google voice in the menu.

This will cost you $20 one time and then your phone number will be parked on your google account.

After that’s done, download the voice app to your cell phone and follow the prompts to setup your phone number to ring on your cell phone.

You may need to go into voice settings and your phone settings to make sure that your phone number rings on your phone and when you place a call from your voice app, it uses your phone number.

This way you’ll show up the same on people’s caller ID. They’ll never know the difference.

A good way to test this out is to get a friend’s cell phone and have them call you and then you call them to make sure everything is working alright.

Let me know if you have any problems in the comments below and I’ll do what I can to help!

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

The Complete Guide To Digital Nomad Jobs

This post may contain affiliate links

The way people work on this planet is changing.

The baby boomers did it their way, but now people are moving to a more location independent lifestyle.

But you already knew that, right?

Good news!

More and more companies are open to working with freelancers and location independent professionals because talented hard-working people have a lot of pull in the world of business.

Every company needs them/you.

As a passionate digital nomad I’ll use this post to break down the newest trends and opportunities when looking for digital nomad jobs and location independent work.

Entrepreneur vs freelancer vs employee

First we need to figure out what type of situation you want. Do you want the security of a W2 income from a company? Or do you want to get scrappy and be a freelancer? Or maybe you want to start your own business.

Starting your own business as a digital nomad

This is a great option for some but you’re going to have to hustle if you want to make it work.

A lot of entrepreneurs go to Bali or Thailand where cost of living is cheap and they can bootstrap their business with other like-minded creators.

Not a bad option but you may need one of the next few options as well to supplement the start-up costs.

Some of the trending location independent business ideas are:

  • E-commerce – Find or create a product, create a shopify store, and have someone else fulfill the orders. You’re basically just a marketer and site manager.
  • E-learning – Create and sell your own online course using Teachable (complete guide here) or teach kids in China how to speak English and earn $20/hour. My wife does this a ton and loves it and earns a great side income. It’s super easy and very rewarding. CLICK HERE to learn how to do it.
  • Affiliate Marketing – A lot of people don’t know this but when you click on something from a blog and it takes you to Amazon, that person gets 5% of everything you buy there for the next 24 hours. Not just for Amazon either, like every company that sells anything online likely has an affiliate marketing program. This is one of my favorite passive income opportunities. A complete guide on affiliate marketing coming soon.
  • License Media – If you’re a media creator then you’re in luck. Use sites like Shutterstock, Pond5, Audio Jungle, Artlist, Videoblocks, and the like to create and sell photos, videos, and music as passive income. There is HUGE opportunity here. My complete guide to licensing media is coming soon!
  • Live A Great Story – If you live an amazing life, you can share your stories in exchange for money. People make huge amounts of money on Patreon and you can too. You can also become an Instagram influencer or YouTube vlogger. All these options use affiliate marketing to earn money.

Become a digital nomad freelancer

One of the easiest ways to get money flowing in remotely is to become a freelancer. I use Upwork as well as Fiverr to get clients but if you’re super talented you can use Toptal which I hear good things about.

The skills that are most needed on these platforms are in the realm of media creation, web development, marketing, animation, and some financial services.

If you like photo/video/audio then I highly recommend purchasing and learning  Adobe creative cloud. I think learning this suite of tools is one of the easiest and quickest ways to become a digital nomad freelancer.

Everyone needs skilled workers in these programs.

Don’t have any skills or know which ones you want to learn? I would go to upwork.com and look at the top and trending skills at the bottom of the homepage, click on a few that interest you and start developing your skills by watching YouTube.

You don’t need a 4-year design degree, you just need to learn how to teach yourself new skills. All the information is free online you just have to learn how to learn.

That’s all I did…

Getting a location independent job

Ok last but not least, just got a job.

Getting a remote job can be a little more competitive but if you stay at it, you can find a way to rise above the other applicants and land a great job that doesn’t care where you are.

This allows for lots of financial security but may require you to be available at certain times of day etc.

Here’s my exhaustive list of digital nomad jobs sites:

General digital nomad jobs:
  • https://weworkremotely.com/
  • https://remoteok.io/
  • https://www.flexjobs.com/
  • https://www.workingnomads.co/jobs
  • https://angel.co/
Accounting:
  • https://www.accountantlist.com/
  • https://www.supportingstrategies.com/

Conclusion

There’s a few tricks to making all of this digital nomad thing work. Here’s a few I live by:

You can make a lot of money by saving money. You might start out your journey in a cheap country while you get on your feet. You can live very comfortably in many Asian countries for very little money.

You can also save huge amounts of money by doing work exchanges. Checkout workaway.info to find opportunities to work in exchange for room and board. Then you make a few bucks online and you’re good to go.

The most important thing to learn, is how to learn. Did you know that Google and Apple both dropped 4-year degrees from their hiring criteria?

That’s because no one cares about your 4-year degree anymore, they just want hard-working talent, and talent is not some God-given thing you were born with.

Talent is developed through reading, learning, practicing, and focusing on results.

I recommend you become a YouTube user. Not just for cat videos but to go deep and learn skills that will get you paid. Spend 1/2 as much time on social networks and double your time on YouTube, and use it as a social learning platform.

Every single Adobe app is taught extensively by thousands of people around the world, for free, on youtube. The barriers to entry have never been lower.

Ok I think that’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for reading and I hope this helped.

Please subscribe to my newsletter for more content like this and have fun out there, it’s never been this easy.

happy hustling

++——->>

Here’s some videos we’ve made to highlight some of the examples above:

Click here to sign up for VIP Kid!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

The Complete Guide To Sync Licensing in 2019

When I was a kid, my mom and my aunt and uncle had a band called the Toston Flatts Dance Band in Montana. They played every weekend for weddings, honky tonks, corporate events, and the like. They had lots of fun and seemed to earn alright money doing it.

I followed this route as well for the last 10 years of my life but more recently, I’m not wanting to spend my time in bars, stay up late, and spend so much time on the road.

Traditionally I’ve always thought that making money in the music industry would almost always have to be living a traveling musician life. With online video and content emerging the way it has recently, I can see that there’s now a new way to earn money with my passion and still create music that inspires me.

In my constant search for the new music industry, I keep coming back to sync licensing your music for video.

From what I’ve found so far, licensing music in video is proving to be one of the most useful and lucrative ways to create music for a living.

In this post I’ll discuss the concept, the industry, the main players, and how to get started producing and licensing royalty-free background music for video, also called sync licensing.

I’m a beginner here but I’m using this post as a study guide and notes for what’s working and what is not. I’ll try to keep it updated as good as possible.

Different ways to license your music for video

Public Libraries

Public music libraries are libraries where anyone can submit their music and it allows content creators to browse through it and choose their favorite songs.

This is one of the easier ways to get started but offers a smaller return than other options I’ve found.

Here’s a few of the big public libraries I’ve discovered:

License Selling Public Libraries (they sell licenses one by one without a monthly recurring charge for the user)

Audio Jungle: This is a public music library that is run by a company called Envato which sells all types of digital content. The company Envato sells website themes, video clips, apps, audio samples, pretty much anything that is needed for digital media, and “Audio Jungle” is their music licensing arm.

You need to submit your music to them to review and if it’s good enough, they’ll accept your submission and put it into the marketplace. They let you choose the pricing for each size of license so that’s nice.

I’ve currently only had 1 song accepted and I’ve made a whopping 3 sales. Nothing big to report here but I know some people with really high quality production music make very big bucks with this.

Pond 5: This is a similar model to Envato and Audio Jungle but it seems to be on a lower level. They too let you choose the sales price of each license and don’t charge a subscription to the user.

Subscription Model Public Libraries – (you get a share of total subscription revenue depending on how many people used your music)

Artlist: You can submit your music to them and they might accept you, then whenever someone downloads (even the preview track) your music, you’ll get credited and receive a share of their subscription fee.

Private Libraries

Private libraries are harder to get into but yeild larger results. These types of libraries have clients that come to them looking for music, then they pitch your music to be used. They obviously get a cut but I’m not sure exactly how much.

I’ve gotten one song placed in a private library via Catch The Moon Music. It is a instrumental fiddle cover of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” No word on any placements yet but I’m excited to see what comes through.

If you google private music libraries, you’ll see there’s a ton of these and it seems to be a good idea to find ones that align with you and try to join them.

Cold email pitching music supervisors and industry contacts

After scouring the internet, taking the 6 Figure Songwriting Course from Cathy Heller, and private mentorship from a licensing instructor, it seems like cold pitching music supervisors can yield great results.

But, you have to really get into the head of music supervisors so that you don’t annoy them or build a bad relationship.

Do:

  1. Find a show/movie/ad that your music would be good in
  2. Look on IMDB to see who the music supervisor is (or the like)
  3. Find their agency and look for contact info
  4. Send them an email that helps them do their job.
    1. Make sure you include meta info (track details)
    2. Make sure you include publisher info
    3. Make sure you include royalty owners, writers, and all the shares allocated to every writer.
    4. Make sure to tell them if it’s one stop (discussed below) or not.

Don’t:

  1. Send one mass email to every supe you can find
  2. Send them music that they would never use and isn’t what they’re looking for
  3. Spell their name wrong
  4. Forget to include meta and contact information in your message
  5. Send attachments that will fill their inbox. Use stream/download links

The key is to help them do their job!

What Is One Stop And How To Get it

One stop basically means that a music supervisor would only have to get clearance from one person/entity in order to use the song in a video project.

So if you wrote, produced, and published a song completely on your own, that would be one-stop. This is what music supervisors want to see because it means it’s easy to clear, and remember the goals is to make music supervisors’ lives easier.

The Importance of Instrumental Versions and Stems

In a video, if someone will be talking over your song with it playing in the background, the edits will need an instrumental version in order to make it work. I would include the instrumental version in the download/stream link that you send to any supervisor.

Depending on the project, the supervisor will also want the stems in case they want to remix and master to their liking. I think it’s a good practice to have the stems in a clean zipped file ready to go at the drop of a hat.

The Importance Of Short Versions And How To Make Them

With sites like audio jungle, public and private libraries, you’ll want to include multiple lengths of your song. This makes it easier for editors to just drop it in and go.

Check out all the other songs on audio jungle to see the time stamps of each version within the deliverable.

How To Name Your Tracks In A Music Library

With public libraries, you’ll want to make sure you use keywords in the title and description of your song that people are searching for. Make sure you look at other popular songs to see how they’re naming.

SEO is super important here!

Best Sync Songs for 2019

Over my journey in this world I’ve been compiling a playlist of the best sync songs that are working today in tv, movies, and ads. Check out the spotify playlist below and follow. I add new songs here consistently.

 

Notice the recurring themes in all the music above. Here’s the ones that I hear people are looking for the most:

  • Swagger
  • Female Empowerment
  • Home
  • Heroic
  • Deep/Dark
  • Summer/Party

Where To License Your Music Online For Video

Some Public Libraries:

      • $199/month unlimited: Artlist
      • Premium Beat
      • Song Freedom
      • Musicbed
      • Epidemic Sound
      • Songtradr

Some Private Libraries:

      • https://www.apmmusic.com/
      • $99 per track: https://us.audionetwork.com/
      • $135/year: https://soundstripe.com/music-library
      • https://www.killertracks.com/#!
      • $80-500: https://www.megatrax.com/
      • ($$$): https://spiritproductionmusic.sourceaudio.com/#!home
      • ($$$): https://www.5alarmmusic.com/licensing/

To better understand how the musicians on these sites create, license, and earn money with their music I interviewed a few who responded:

 

Conclusion

I’m still very much on this journey and haven’t had any major placements yet but I’m digging deeper every day. If you’d like to connect or work together in any way please reach out.

Good luck on the licensing journey and let me know if you ever need fiddle/violin on a track! ross@rossobrown.com

Best,

Ross

++——->>

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

New Music – Feed The Wildlife E.P.

After producing travel demos for so long, I think it’s finally time to release full productions.

To start out I’ve recorded and released a new song called Travelin In The Sun. This song was written while traveling around the south island of New Zealand in a campervan.

We had an amazing time and saw one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever experienced. We kept saying it’s like if Montana had an ocean.

Take a listen to the latest song below and please purchase so that I can record and release more of my demos!

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

The Best Cheap Vlogging Camera With Flip Up Screen

This post may contain affiliate links

One day I was scrolling through YouTube and discovered a creative YouTuber named Casey Neistat. After watching about 10 of his videos, I was hooked on the idea of vlogging. I researched the best cheap vlogging camera for the next few months and bought one that I’ve since used all around the world.

In this post I will review my favorite cheap vlogging camera with flip up screen and other vlogging tips, resources, and ideas.

Best Cheap Vlogging Camera With Flip Up Screen

The Sony A5100 Mirrorless 

If you look at camera shootouts on YouTube, the sony line of mirrorless cameras stands apart from the rest in terms of image quality, heft, dimensions, lens options, and price.

I started out thinking I was going to buy the Sony A6000 but at the last minute, I changed my mind to get the 5100 because of the flip screen. This is absolutely crucial if you want to vlog.

The image quality of the 5100 vs the 6000 is exactly the same, the only differences are in functionality. Here are the key differences of the 5100 vs the 6000 that I found.

  • 5100 Has flip up screen for selfie style video and photo
  • 5100 does not have viewfinder
  • 5100 does not have shoe mount
  • Neither cameras have external audio input jack

Besides those few things, the cameras are extremely similar. I have since purchased a 6000 for my wife and she loves having the viewfinder. Between these two cameras, we’ve vlogged and photographed all of our travels around the world.

We also earn a large portion of our income through photography and video with these two cameras.

The only real downfall that I miss on these cameras is the external audio jack. But, if you watch our videos below, you’ll hear the audio quality and how for basic vlogging, it doesn’t matter that much.

Not having a cumbersome microphone attached to your flexible tripod also keeps your setup discrete and allows you to look a little “less professional” when videoing and photoing in certain situations. (sometimes people ask you not to film if they think you’re a super pro).

Some of  our sample vlogs:

 

 

Sony E Mount Lenses

For discreteness and ease of use, the Sony 16-55 kit lens, that comes with these cameras, is actually quite good for vlogging. You don’t have to worry about breaking an expensive lens, it has a quick zoom, decent autofocus, and is super thin.

We used the kit lens for every vlog as we traveled, and only later increased our lens collection.

After getting back from our year around the world, we wanted to do photography and better video for money, so we purchased the 2 following lenses:

Sony 50mm Prime

Sony 35mm Prime

 

Both of these lenses are incredible and give a very high depth of field (blurry background that looks all pro). If you can only purchase one, I would choose the 35mm unless you are doing mainly food photography, product photography etc.

Vlogging Tripod

We researched this quite a bit as well, and this is what we purchased and used the entire trip:

Joby GorillaPod

This unit has a ball head which I found to be super helpful and crucial for getting balanced and level shots. Highly recommend. It’s also the brand that Neistat uses.

If you have any questions about our setup please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading this and please sign up for the newsletter on my homepage!

++——->>

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Online Course Development – How To Earn Money With Your Skills

This post may contain affiliate links

Right before Carly and I left to travel, we developed her online course 12-Days To Sexy on her website and it has helped buy us plane tickets, AirBNBs, and food around the world.

Since then we’ve created multiple other courses and have found great success in creating online courses and schools.

In this post, I’ll share why you should create an online course, how to create one, and the best online course platforms to choose from.

Why To Create An Online Course

Chances are, you’re really good at something that other people aren’t. No matter how big or small that skill is, someone on the world wide web will likely pay you to teach them how you do it.

After you develop a school and produce some curriculum, you’ll have a tangible product that will live on forever and the best part is, you don’t have to manufacture it more than once.

After posting it online and doing some marketing, it is possible to receive passive income from your courses for the rest of your life.

What You Will Need To Create An Online Course

There’s multiple ways to succeed in this realm but after lots of trial and error, I’ve discovered a few things that are crucial to success.

  1. A platform that you can easily create, update, and market
  2. An affiliate program
  3. A small understanding of video production (iPhone will work fine)

That’s about it.

Best Online Course Platforms

I started out by building Carly’s entire course on her WordPress blog. I made new pages for each day of the cleanse and password protected the directory page. After someone purchased, we’d send them an automated email with the password and that was about it.

It worked alright but it was cumbersome to design and use, and most importantly, it didn’t have an affiliate program!

After a few months, we came to realize how crucial an affiliate program is to the success of any school so I started searching for platforms that had an affiliate program built in.

This led us to 2 main contenders:

  1. Teachable

    This is my number one choice. I have built about 5 different schools on this platform and it offers:

    • a built-in affiliate program
    • beautiful and easily editable design
    •  high functioning video player
    • convenient payouts
    • many course payment options
    • and the list goes on.You can’t really go wrong with this option and I recommend it to all my friends.
  2. Zippy Courses

    When we discovered this app for WordPress, it was brand new. Carly was one of the first people to purchase it and it seemed to be a promising platform.

    After a few weeks of struggling to make it work, I ended up abandoning it and the investment we made into it.

    That being said, it looks like it’s come a long way and may be a good option for some but I can’t speak to it.

Marketing An Online Course

The beauty of an affiliate program is that it kind of markets itself. Here’s how I do it in it’s most basic form:

  1. Publish your course and school
  2. Send it out to your audience on social media, email and word of mouth for an introductory price, in exchange for feedback and a review
  3. Publish the reviews on your sales page
  4. Make the initial course participants affiliates in your course and give them a healthy commission (set up in the teachable backend)
  5. Message them all and tell them what they could earn by sending out their link to their friends.
  6. Repeat a few times
  7. Increase the price slowly over time to make the most sales.

Online Course Development

All that being said, I highly recommend you make a course if you’re considering it. Teachable has a free tier that you can get started with and then you can level up as you get going.

Click here to get started with Teachable

If you run into any troubles you can always message me and I’d love to help. I do this work for clients and I can build you a school of your dreams! 😍😍

happy hustling!

Email me here: rossobrown@gmail.com

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
blog-ross-o-brown