Be Heard: Grammy® Amplifier and CenterStage Campaigns.

February 10, 2013

Many of you who visit often know I’m passionate about helping new artists succeed.  So it’s no surprise that I’m a part of two Grammy® programs right now, to do just that.

Leading up to award show tomorrow, I have been one of the curators of a program designed by The Grammys® to spread the word about fresh new talent.  The other curators include RZA, Kelly Clarkson, Ozzy Osbourne, Jim James, Kaskade, and Snoop.  Today, I’ll be tweeting links to some of the artists I think are great, as part of that program, so make sure to follow me on Twitter (@mikeshinoda) to hear some great new music today.

The “Amplifier” program has been a hit with the Grammy folks, and as such, they’ve decided to do more than just shout out the artists.  So we just announced a new campaign called CenterStage.

Whereas with “Amplifier,” the prize was a tweet by a popular artist to their fanbase, “CenterStage” aims to prove a dream experience for an emerging artist, including things like studio time with Grammy® producers and engineers, an opening slot on a tour or festival, and a music video.  The Grammy network of artists and talent is as deep as it gets, so it’s clear that the people the winners will be paired up with will be spectacular.

Sign up, encourage your friends, spread the word.  CenterStage is an incredible opportunity for a brand new talent to get their big break.  Go to to sign up and vote.


The VMA’s Got In A Drunken Brawl At My House

August 29, 2011

Back in high school, my close group of friends was pretty tight–maybe about 5 of us.  But my looser group was a lot bigger, maybe about 25 guys.  Whenever there was a party or something interesting going on, we would all call or page each other and make sure everyone would know about it, and usually roll together.  There were lots of benefits to the bigger group: some of the guys had a way to get liquor for all of us, some didn’t really drink and could be the drivers, and there were a lot of us in the case someone got in a fight or whatever.

But there was a drawback to the big group: there were always one or two jackasses.  Maybe they weren’t jackasses all the time, but once they had a few drinks, they inevitably ended up showing their true colors, embarrassing themselves and some of us in the meantime.  And the next day at school, everyone was talking about them.

Yesterday, I didn’t watch the VMAs (again).  I wasn’t avoiding it, I was hanging out with some friends, and forgot to tune in.  But avoiding the show is nearly impossible.  Because, like my high school friends, people can’t help but talk about the jackasses:

@itsthereal: “Whoever said the VMAs were broke? Cause it always seems fixed.”

@phoenixlp: “#VMAconclusion: not everyone has mastered what “amazing” and “incredible” mean.”

@joncaramanica: “choreography by Criss Angel”

@PigsAndPlans: “Ugh, Wayne. What are you doing with your life?”

@iancr: “I wish I could dig wayne but I’m too old and have loved hip hop for way too long. I tried. Hard.”

@JensenClan88: “That was like if I smashed my Guitar Hero guitar after I scored a 32% on Easy #VMAs”

and my favorite:

@brokemogul “you look stupid”

By now, most of us have heard about Adam Levine’s tweet (“the VMA’s. one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I’m drawing a line in the sand. fuck you VMA’s.”)  All respect due, but c’mon dude.  MTV isn’t really pretending at all.  They (the flagship channel at least) haven’t been pretending to be about music for a long time, and the VMA’s have really never been about giving awards away for real musicianship, talent, and songs.  They’re just the big drunk trainwreck at the party: you can’t believe what you’re watching, and love to talk about it when it’s over.


DEF SPAM: Watch The Throne.

August 10, 2011

I sat down at my laptop earlier this morning, ready to take care of a few emails before sitting down to work on some new songs.  Like most people, I always feel like I’m playing catch-up when it comes to emails.  There are always too many, and I can never make it through them all. Halfway down the screen, I clicked on one from “Kanye West,” (who I don’t know personally).

A long time ago, I remember filling my email info in on his website, in order to download some tracks he was giving away.  So I guessed the email was going to be something promotional about the new album with Jay-Z.  Instead, this is what popped up (sorry for the long screen grab, but I wanted you to get the point):


Dear Record Label Dude Who Green Lit This Email,

I guess it’s too late for me to inform you, but this is a mistake people figured out like 10 years ago.  You are invited to join us in the modern world, where “spamming your fanbase” is on a level somewhere between “posting topless duckface self pics on Facebook” and “Jeezus, LulzSec just posted my confidential home and credit card information.”  You are what’s wrong with the music industry.

Def Jam appears to be the home of the culprit here.  At least, their name is at the top of the page.  It’s unbelievable: they hit me with the “If you like KANYE WEST, you’re sure to love THESE OTHER GUYS TOO?” and they have the balls to ask if I want to “ensure delivery” or “forward to a friend.”  I know who Ace Hood, Frank Ocean, and Young Jeezy are, bonehead.  If I wanted to know what was new with them, I would have gone to their websites, not Kanye West’s.

I know, you want to say: “Mike, just click the “unsubscribe.”  But the point is, what about the fans who WANT Kanye updates, but are now having to decide whether or not to unsubscribe because Kanye West is spamming them. And when they do, they get disconnected from the artist they chose to follow–and more importantly, they hesitate next time an artist asks for their email address.  Which affects the rest of us.

When I put my email address down for anything these days, it’s the equivalent of adding them on Twitter.  If my feed suddenly starts getting full of your updates on “I just ate something” and “here’s what’s on TV,” guess what?  Unfollow.

So for the record: what happened here will not happen to you when you get something on  If you go to our websites to buy, watch, or download something: we treat your information with the utmost respect.  We have no intention of frequently emailing you, spamming you, or giving your information away to a third party.  Your time is too valuable and your Inbox is too crowded as it is.



How to Get Attention The Right Way

June 6, 2011

Yesterday at the show, a group of fans tracked Chester down.  After a quick exchange, they handed him an iPod Touch, and said, “We’re in a band called Beta State, and we’d be honored if you guys would check out our music.”

They handed him their demo on an iPod.

After the show, Chester told us what had happened, and showed Phoenix and me the iPod.  In Phoenix’s words, “at this point, it almost doesn’t even matter what their band sounds like–they obviously get it.”  Their album, art, and four professional-looking videos were all on the iPod, which was customized for the viewing and listening experience.  When we first turned it on, there was a personal note, addressed to me (see video above).

If you’re going to try to get noticed, you’ve got to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to get noticed by.  You have to think to yourself, “How often do they get asked questions like the one I’m asking?  How do I make myself stand out?  How I do put my best foot forward?”  Beta State knows the value of a standout connection.  We’ve received demos on similar devices before, but it’s never been so thorough and so thoughtfully put together as this one.

You may say, “I want to promote my band, but I can’t afford to give away iPods.”  Exactly.  Any thoughtful person who receives this gift will recognize the effort and sacrifice that potentially comes with it.  This iPod was obviously used, but clearly, Beta State can’t do this for everybody.  If they wanted to hand me an iPod, how many chances would they get to do that?

They chose a single connection that mattered to them, and they made a huge effort.

And I realize that, as I’m telling this story, there will be people out there who are inclined to copy this band’s move, and try to give us iPods with their music on them.  If you do that, you’re missing the point, and we won’t accept them.  It’s about being the first one to get it right.

Have a thoughtful presentation, put in the effort, and you can get people’s attention.  And as Phoenix said, it almost doesn’t matter what your band sounds like.

But lucky for Beta State, this is what it sounds like:

Go here to check out more of their music, videos, photos, and info:


Aspiring musicians: Topspin is now live.

March 17, 2011

As many of you know, I occasionally try to put some helpful tips for you musicians here on the blog.  It’s been a while, but this week seemed like a good week to put something up.  Not just because SXSW is going on, but because Ian Rogers and the TOPSPIN team just announced that their amazing new service is finally available to all.  Topspin is a service that helps you get your your music, videos, movies, books, t-shirts, tickets, posters, or nearly any merchandise to fans anywhere on the internet, using any currency in the world.

From Ian’s announcement:

“So what the hell have we built, anyway? Topspin’s software has been built to serve the direct-to-fan marketing and retail needs of the thousands of artists we’ve been working with.  As we’ve been trying to solve the challenges of marketing and releasing art direct to consumers on the Internet we’ve been working those solutions into an integrated platform which can be operated by anyone marketing art.  Topspin helps you manage your stuff — digital media or files of any kind, t-shirts, posters, box sets or anything you can describe and deliver, tickets including an iPhone ticket scanner, and memberships and fan clubs.  It helps you build awareness for unheard and unseen art through streaming players and tools which make sharing easy.  It helps you build direct connections with prospective fans via email, Facebook, and Twitter and communicate to build a real, trusting relationship with those folks.  And it helps you sell to your fans, anywhere they are, in whatever currency they’d like to transact in, on Facebook, your web site, etc.  It is a feature-rich, powerful, non-trivial piece of software.

We (Linkin Park) have been using Topspin for a while now, and I believe in these dudes.  In fact, you can see Topspin in action on our website here.

If you make music and you want to build your fanbase, find out how to get and use Topspin here:


Linkin Park 2010 Wrap Up

December 31, 2010

2010 has been a great year for me and my band. Here are some 2010 year-end stats for the LP record books:

We released “A Thousand Suns”, which debuted at #1 in 15 countries.

The album debuted with an amazing contest called “Linkin Park Featuring You” on MySpace where fans were given pieces of our first single before it was released. They remixed the tracks, and we picked a winner named NoBrain–and included his work on our album.

We got a chance to play in a number of places we’ve never visited before, including the U.A.E. and Israel.

At home in the U.S., our first single, “The Catalyst” was the first #1 debut in the history of the Billboard Rock Songs chart. “The Catalyst” and “Waiting For The End” both went to #1 on the Alternative radio chart, bringing our career tally to ten #1 songs thus far.

LP won an EMA for “Best Live Act,” and we’re in the running for the upcoming People’s Choice Awards, Japan Gold Disc Awards and German Echo Awards.

We released 8-Bit Rebellion for iPod, iPod Touch, and iPad, which debuted at #1 on the iTunes music app chart.

“A Thousand Suns” became Nielsen Soundscan’s #1 Best Selling Rock album of 2010

Chester made an appearance in Saw 3D, which also saw a #1 debut at the box office

We held our first LP Underground Summits, in London and Sydney, which quickly became one of the most memorable experiences for LPU members who attended.

As the year comes to a close, we’ll be crossing 20 million Facebook fans (more than Starbucks, Disney, or McDonalds–but still catching up to Michael Jackson at 26MM!)

Following the earthquake in Haiti, the band organized Download To Donate ( where supporters and fans of over a dozen bands could come to download tracks for free, and donate funds to support relief efforts in Haiti. This effort is ongoing.

“A Thousand Suns” was a risky album–one that veered off a more predictable path into territory that definitely got fans and non-fans talking. It’s been fun to see how perceptions and opinions have changed. As we move into the next year, we’ll be looking forward to the next leg of the world tour, another single, another video, and whatever else comes next. A huge “thank you” is due to everyone who has helped make 2010 a successful year for the band. We appreciate you.

Happy New Year!



Recording Artists, Not Performers

May 6, 2010

I was having dinner with a close friend named Mark, and we found ourselves on the topic of seeing “new” bands in concert. Mark had recently gone to Coachella, and was telling me about his favorite acts–and some of the ones that underwhelmed him. He wondered aloud why some bands seem to be so proficient in the studio, but their live show didn’t seem to be nearly as solid. A thought occurred to me/us somewhere in the conversation, and I’m going to put it out there for discussion:

Today, there is a historic surplus of “recording artists” and deficit of “performers.” And it’s probably technology’s fault.

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to be a professional musician, you might start by saving up to buy an instrument. You’d buy it, and start teaching yourself. Next, you’d probably get lessons, and practice, practice, practice. You would get together with other musicians, at someone’s house, to jam other peoples’ songs, and maybe eventually write your own. Then you’d work your way toward playing live. You might start by playing covers, then move toward playing your own stuff. If that went over well, you’d build a fan base, who would spread the word. Eventually, a record company representative could find you and sign you to a deal, and FINALLY you would be able to create a “professional” recording of your music. By that time, you would have logged thousands of hours of performing together. And the recording of your album was geared towards capturing the essence of what you actually sounded like: the magic that everyone heard while listening to you play live.

Today, most people skip straight to the recording. The tools to make a great recording are as cheap as free: whether GarageBand on a Mac, or amazing online recording communities like BOJAM, nearly anyone can have access to the tools necessary to make a quality recording. There’s no gatekeeper or major hurdle between an amateur and their interest in learning writing, recording, engineering, and mixing music. That being the case, there’s a whole new generation of artists who have become really good at those things. They log thousands of hours writing and recording. Since an early age, they’ve been honing their skills, composing pop diddies and alternative anthems on their laptops–wherever, whenever they like. They put the songs online…and occasionally, a song starts to take off in a viral whirlwind.

But what then?

Let’s say the song becomes popular; whether signed to a record label or working independently, piracy assures that the mp3 doesn’t make a lot of money online. And the group needs to make some money to pay the rent, buy gear, build the band. So they start planning their “tour.” But they don’t have much experience playing live. They’re really good at their instruments, but they can’t make it happen on stage. The album has dozens of layered sounds on every song, and they only have four band members. The drummer can’t keep up with the drum pattern on the popular single, because it was a drum machine on the original recording. And the vocalist’s voice sounds awful without Auto Tune.

One of the places where a “listener” becomes a “fan” is at the concert, and if you can’t connect there, you lose. In the case of Coachella, there were some bands that had the whole package. Some sounded great because they sounded just like the album, some sounded great because they sounded different from the album. There were rock-based bands that played well together, and electronic-based groups that brought the energy of their recording to life on stage. But in between–and in general–more and more often, the world is seeing artists with incredible-sounding albums and songs, and no magic when you see them in concert.

My own band has had to deal with these same issues in one way or another in the past. We grew up recording on a computer, at the specific point in time when home recording software became accessible to the average kid. When we met a record executive for the first time, we had played no shows. At that moment, we realized that we needed to start playing live and practicing our new songs, so we could eventually bring them to a stage. It would be years before anyone had ever heard of Linkin Park. We were lucky enough to get through the worst of our awkward live mistakes while we were still a baby band, unsigned, without a million people coming to our first show to see what all the hype was about, and by the time “In The End” hit the mainstream, we had probably played 150-200 shows together and worked a lot of the kinks out.

I’m definitely not saying that being a masterful at recording isn’t an asset. I’m just saying that it’s a game with a lot of competition, due to ease of entry.

If you want to stand out, performance is key. After all, if you master that, you can easily hire someone to record you.


8 Bit Rebellion is Out

April 26, 2010

8 Bit Rebellion is now live in the iTunes App store. Yaaaayyyyyy

I did a live video chat on our UStream channel tonight to share the excitement. You can watch it here:


Get Busy for One Dollar

November 8, 2009


The Get Busy Committee officially just upped the ante: this weekend only, you can get the entire “Uzi Does It” album FOR ONLY ONE US DOLLAR. You can buy it on their Myspace page from Saturday thru Monday:

The album comes out on iTunes next Tuesday (full price), and the USB Uzi is now officially on sale at their website:



BOJAM: Online Music Recording and Mixing

October 1, 2009

For all my aspiring musicians (and probably even non-musicians out there), check this out…such an awesome idea. The video above is old, but I just saw the beta site today (link below), and it’s pretty advanced. I’m not sure about the performance of “Africa” by Toto (LOL)…but BOJAM is “server-side” recording and mixing software: you don’t have to download anything on your computer to use it (except Flash, which we all have anyway). Even if you know nothing about making music, you can create or remix a song with other users from around the world. In theory, you could even have a band with four musicians who have never met in person–they just wrote a hit song together from four different places around the world.

Apparently, they’re still testing out the software, so they’re looking for new users to try it out and tell them how to make it better. To try it, go here, fill in the info, and you’ll be ready to play with the software. Trust me, it’s worth it.