This is the Unstarving Musician podcast. I am your host Robonzo. This podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. It’s all intended to help other indie music artists be better at marketing, business, the creative process and all the other things that empower us to do more of what we love. Make music.
Thank you for joining me again for another episode. I’m going to talk with Rachel Hearnden. In this episode. She is a user of the collaboration app Trackd and you know, I’m all fired up about collaboration apps lately. Hey, something special happened last week, the Rolling Stones reissued their 1973 album Goats Head Soup. What’s so special about that you might ask? Well A, it’s the Rolling Stones and B, it’s the album that largely is responsible for my wanting to be a musician and singer. I don’t know who they uh, who they worked with on remastering it, but they did a fantastic job. Really takes me back. I’m loving listening to it. hope you’ll check it out too. So that’s what I was excited about this past weekend.
I want to read a listener email. I don’t usually do this, but I’m gonna start doing it. I’m getting more these lately. But yeah, a guy named Brian Young, who I actually spoke with for the podcast for a forthcoming episode somewhat recently, but he wrote me a while back and here’s what he said. “Thank you for reaching out to me. I was doing web surfing and ran across your podcast and book which I will be reading. We just released a new CD and I’m dealing with the loss of my wife of 43 years and manager of my blues band. I want to donate some of the proceeds from the latest CD to Stand Up to Cancer. I have a great story to tell, please visit my website for more.”
Brian also wrote me after we spoke for the podcast. He said, “I want to thank you first for showing up in my life. Thank you for the beautiful vibes [beautiful flow of vibes] we had today.” And that was for the podcast he’s talking about. “If the podcast never airs it’s cool just to know you. You are illuminating. Remember I said I do not know how I got the chance to meet Ringo Starr or BB King, Buddy Guy or all of the ones of great influence in my musical life. You are in that number brother. May the Supreme Being keep you tuned for life.” Well Brian, thank you! I know I expressed this in some of our emails and conversations, thank you for for coming into my life and uh… Yep, I know it’s a tough time man. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you too. And I look forward to talking to some more. Hang in there man.
So yes, I I spoke with Rachel Hearnden for this conversation you’re about to hear she’s a drummer at heart and a rocker, multi instrumentalist. She also plays bass, guitar, piano didgeridoo. I told her I hate her, because she plays all those things. Rachel is a user, as I mentioned, of the collaboration app Tract, which was talked about in recent episode number 174. Wow that means this is going to be 175. That’s amazing. I think. Anyway, that’s amazing. To me, for me. Rachel’s not new to collaboration apps, but found Tract in March of this year 2020, and tells us what, tells me what she likes so much about it, how she’s using it and more. Our conversation is related to an article I recently wrote for Forbes.com. You’ve heard me mention that in some other recent episodes lately, and I’ll put links to those episodes, which are related. The article covers the online music collaboration space, I’ll have like I said, a link in the show notes if you want to check that out. I hope you do. I’m working hard to spread the awareness, or spread awareness among my fellow musicians about these new collaboration apps and web platforms. Some of you will love it, will love them (the apps) and websites that is. For the rest of you, I think it’s important to be acquainted with things like this. It might not be your thing, but you could be helping another musician by sharing what you know. All right here is me and Rachel Hearnden.
What kind of music do you play?
Rachel Hearnden 4:24
Um, a little bit of everything actually. My main love is obviously rock music, but a little bit of folk, a little bit of pop, a little bit of rock, or just a little bit of everything.
Well, so my but you sound a little like me. I’m but I’m deep at heart just a rock person. What rock music do you get into?
Rachel Hearnden 4:48
I mean, classic stuff probably like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple. A lot of products like Genesis Pink Floyd. I love Guns and Roses. All You know, kind of anything really anything that’s kind of got rhythm.
Anything with guitar, bass and drums right?
Rachel Hearnden 5:07
Oh, definitely. I mean heart. I mean, I’m a drummer at heart so but yeah, any anything, anything with kind of… any type of music really. It could be anything from a guitarist to a little tinkle of something on piano to even just a bass line that just gets the hairs on the back of my neck up and I’m all, oh I’m listening. I’m listening.
Very nice, very nice. So what other instruments do you play?
Rachel Hearnden 5:39
So primarily, I play the drums. Although slightly rusty right now. Bass guitar and a little bit of everything really, piano; I bought myself a didgeridoo when we went into lockdown. So I’ve been playing that as well.
Well, I officially hate you because you can play all the instruments.
Rachel Hearnden 6:03
I didn’t say I could play them well.A little bit of everything. [So are you…] Jack of all trades a master of none.
So are you out of practice because of the COVID, on drums.
Rachel Hearnden 6:19
When I was younger, I wanted to go into like a music career. And life got in the way and I did other things and I kind of put things to one side and put things on hold and, and then as you know, I need to get back into it. So I started sort of tinkering again, but since kind of this year when COVID hit, it’s, it’s been a real opportunity for me to get back into what I love. And using Trackd I mean, that has enabled me to press the play button, as it were, instead of leaving everything on pause. So it’s kind of, I’m rediscovering my love of everything again. You know, and it’s kind of got the creativity to come back out of me as opposed to me just kind of going, “I’ll do that another day, I’ll do it another day.” Whereas now I’m, you know, I can’t wait to kind of learn or do something else.
When did you start using Trackd?
Rachel Hearnden 7:19
Um back in probably, beginning of March.
I’m laughing, I’m laughing because I know their usage and registration surged in March. And I’m guessing because of COVID for you as well, but
Rachel Hearnden 7:36
Um no, not necessarily. I mean, I’ve been kind of previously to Trackd, I’ve been using Spire and just kind of doing a few bits at home, just just kind of playing around with it. You know, like doing layering and mixing them and it’s only to somebody I happen to upload something on Facebook to say, “I’m really enjoying doing playing around at home recording stuff.” And it was actually just before all of the COVID things. So he said, Well, why don’t you download Trackd and I went, oh, what’s Trackd? So, you know, somebody recommended it, and I downloaded it. And it was the best thing I ever did. It was everything I could have wanted. So yeah, I’m sure there’s a lot of people that probably discovered it in March. But for me, it was purely because I was already kind of getting back into kind of tinkering as it were.
Yeah. What was the name of the other app that you were using before? And was it web based or mobile, or sorry, app store thing?
Rachel Hearnden 8:41
Oh, it was called Spire. And it’s kind of a similar thing where you’ve got kind of tracks as such, and there’s a few bits on there. But what I liked about Trackd is the fact that it was more social, so it might be that I’ve put a bit of piano down, and I think I don’t know what to put with that. And then I’ve uploaded it and somebody else has put a guitar or somebody else’s bass. And it’s, it’s transformed like what I would normally do. Because it might be that I think I’ve got this great piano piece or this great drum piece but I can’t quite put the guitar that I want but somebody else has thought better of it.
Do I have to go on Trackd to hear any of your stuff, or do you, have you published any, or can I can I get some by special request.
Rachel Hearnden 9:32
I have got all of my songs I’ve uploaded on my profile on Trackd.
I’ll get in there, check it out.
Rachel Hearnden 9:39
A couple of weeks ago, I went through TuneCore, and I kind of put like a little, basically my sister is a massive fan of my bits and pieces that I’ve been sending her from Trackd. And she said I want I want you to put it on an album so I can just play, and I thought, I don’t know how to do that. Then somebody recommended TuneCore so I converted the files. I’ve uploaded them. I think it costs me something like $10 or some. And I’ve put it on Spotify and Apple Music.
Oh very nice.
Rachel Hearnden 10:14
It’s really strange. I never thought I would say that. So my sister now has been listening so much stuff through that.
Okay. And are you there under your name or do you have like a an artist name or is it Rachel Hearnden. And did I say it right? I was supposed to ask you that before we started but…
Rachel Hearnden 10:30
You did. You actually got it right. Not many people get it right, but Rachel Hearnden yes, it’s under my name on Apple Music and Spotify. I’m doing it as Rachel Hearndan, partly on Trackd, but my name on there is Humble Bee Blue. One word on Trackd.
On Trackd? Humble bee, bee like the like the flying, honey producing bee?
Rachel Hearnden 10:56
Yup honeybee, except humble bee blue.
Blue. Very nice. I will look for that. Now I, your name is somewhat similar to mine in spelling and I actually liked that name, your name, a lot when I was younger, because I was for whatever silly reasons kids or people who are born of color or whatever we want to call it. I was like I thought you know, I think I thought of this because I thought you know, if I’m ever you know, a famous artist, I’ll change my name. Maybe I’ll change it to Herndon, although the spelling was slightly different. But now, I would never do that. I would just be Robonzo, so it’s the problem is solved if I really did want to lose it, but I’m cool with my name now just so you know.
Rachel Hearnden 11:41
Yeah, I mean, my name has been spelled several ways. It’s been spelt as Hersdon. I even got called Harrington the other week which is nowhere close. Or they say Hern Dean, hurry, hurin deem, and I’m like, “Hearnden Hearnden.” It’s quite funny. It’s quite funny. Really? I have to laugh, but I’m happy with my name.
Yeah, my second guest was going to be Here-n-done, and I thought it’s probably Hearnden. Well, cool. Yes, and it was very nice of Grant [Tilbury] to connect us and I, by the way, thank you, thank you, thank you for scheduling with me when you did. For future listeners of this episode, I was working on an article around the online music collaboration space. And Rachel being a user of Trackd, one of the founders at Trackd was nice enough to connect us, and me and a couple of other users, Rachel included, and I offered brownie points, for what those are worth, for the those of them that could book something with me this week. So thank you. It’s appreciated.
Rachel Hearnden 12:51
No, You’re very welcome. And honestly, I can’t recommend Trackd enough to people. It sounds really corny, but it has changed my life just last couple of months, because I’ve always been quite a shy person. I’m not really one for kind of saying, “Look what I’ve learned, look what I’ve played or, or sharing my music,” whereas now I’m quite proud to say, Oh, this is what I’ve been doing. You know, if you enjoy, you know, if anybody wants to work with me, or wants to put vocals on, I just love hearing other people’s interpretation. So I could put something in there, somebody puts something else, and I think, “Oh, that’s how they hear it.” And it’s nice to see other people’s versions and the way other people think and, and I think, you know, there’s no other app out there that, like Trackd where people can actually, you know, kind of get together musically, socially and collaborate and come together and put those kind of ideas, and I think it’s absolutely fantastic.
That’s a nice, gret endorsement. And, you know, I’ve been asking platform creators, the collaboration platform creators about a question that a lot of artists think about first, and that is, who owns, who owns the song, or songs? And do they provide a mechanism for you to create splits. So when you do something, you know, with other artists, that where everyone’s protected, so I want to hear your understanding of how it works. And if it’s, if it’s been a concern for you.
Rachel Hearnden 14:27
So for me, I think that the person that originally writes the song and shares it, but it’s their song, and I think that anybody that comes on board and add everything else, I think it’s it’s only fair to split that song, because just as an example, I’ve got a song called “After the Storm is Gone,” And it’s me, it’s just me some percussion and piano. And one of the other users I think, I believe you’ll probably speak to, is Jamie. I uploaded it, he downloaded it, he collaborated and he put guitar on it. But for me, I see that as a 50/50 split, because the song wouldn’t be what it is now without that guitar. And, you know, I think the person that originally uploaded it, yes, it’s their song. But I think if it’s something going forward that you want to share then publicly as a finished song, I think it’s only fair to make it a split.
So you used a word in responding, you said, a couple of Where else? I’ll use a couple words, “you think” or “I think.” Does that mean to imply that you believe that it works like this, but you can’t say with 100% certainty? And I’m, and I don’t mean, I don’t mean to put you on the spot, because I kind of know already from speaking to Grant, what the answer is, and we can talk about that in a second. But I thought this was a good, a good follow up to ask. It’s kind of a feedback mechanism for Trackd, but anyway, yes.
Rachel Hearnden 15:58
Yeah, I think for some I mean, I’ve put some, some bass on a song. But I sit I do believe it’s that person song because they’ve uploaded it first. But they’ve come up with that song I’ve just added to it. You know, and as a songwriter, and if it’s me uploading the song or somebody else to it, I’m more than happy to split that, that songwriting you know that that sharing ability with somebody? Because for me if if somebody has added something they’ve inputted, and if they’ve inputted it’s only fair that they’re part of that process. [Sure.] So for me, Yeah, I do. I do have an understanding. And I do believe, you know, that if you are the songwriter, and you upload it, yes, initially, it’s your song, but if you’ve asked for collaborations and somebody collaborated, and then you’ve then gone forward with that. It’s only fair that you share that responsibility with somebody else. [Yeah.] Make sense? [Yeah.] Did I answer your question.
Yeah, it sure does. I mean you came at it from a couple different angles. And my my angle or reason for asking was to see if we can alleviate concerns of people who were like, “Okay, if I start using one of these apps, which I’ve never done, who owns, who owns the song and do they have a mechanism there for me to to do proper splits and how many ways is that all protected, but let me tell you what what Grant said. I don’t know if this is going to be any of this is going to be news to you, but I figured it’s fair. The song project owner owns the song and Trackd has no rights in the song composition or recording. We simply provide the tools in which to collaborate. Now the interesting part, maybe the most interesting part for you, maybe, “We have a major app update eminent and we’ve massively expanded the songwriting splits side, which we cannot wait to show our artists. In the current version 2.0, we do…” I might have have misspelled here, So I guess they don’t have that yet. But he said, “Watch this space is all I can say for now.” So anyway, that sounds like it’ll be good.
Rachel Hearnden 18:09
Yeah, and I think, you know, in fact, he just said Trackd doesn’t own the song. You own the song. And that’s exactly what Trackd is, it’s no it’s one of those things that if it wasn’t for Trackd, I wouldn’t have known about things like how to promote yourself, how to go through things like TuneCore. I wouldn’t know half of some of the things I’ve learned from others. It’s actually a very, very useful tool. And he said, like he said, it’s a tool. And it has been a very useful tool, some of the things that I’ve done and recording and, and the quality of the music that you record on there is very, very good. You know, and I can’t wait for if there’s another version and you know, the things that are going to be ahead. It will be a very, very good app to work on.
Cool. Do you have a feature wish list that you would like to share?
Rachel Hearnden 19:09
The only thing for me it would be nice if, because sometimes you’ve only got a certain amount when you upload a song, you can say, okay, I’ve recorded this in the key of this or you can put, I think, like hundred and 40 characters or whatever you put, but it would be nice to have a little bit where you could almost have like a comment section where somebody can suggest something or they can comment and say, you know, “Great track, can I add bass?” I’d love to do this. So it’d be nice to have something where you can add comments, I think.
Okay, that sounds pretty simple. Hopefully they’ve heard that one before but if not, they will know. So and when you say that, had it not been for Trackd you wouldn’t have learned about, you know TuneCore and how to get your music out on on streaming. It sounds like that learning was the product of the social platform that that is part of the Trackd ecosystem, or was there a little bit of Trackd has like a resource library of research, you know, kind of, like a knowledge base for questions like, like you were having when we’re, you know, when someone said, “Hey, I want to listen to your stuff like normal, like I normally listen to music.”?
Rachel Hearnden 20:21
Yeah, I think it’s any of the, what’s great about it is, is that on there, they’re always very helpful. So if there’s any problems, you know, they say, contact us. So it’s very easy to go click, contact us, and you can ask the questions. You can ask questions, and you can say, Oh, how do I do this? Or how does this work? And they’re there, they’re very quick to comment back and help, you know, in giving you the best advice. You know, that, that’s all I can say, is, you know, it’s, oh, how do I do this? Or how do I set this and it’s, and it could be that somebody else comes back and says, Oh, actually, this is how you can do it. And you think Oh, that’s great. So it But they’re very, very helpful.
That’s cool. Good to hear. They sound like good guys, guys and gals, small team as they are. And it sounds like the number of users is really blown up, which is wonderful. I’ve read that about, and and also spoken with some other platforms, and seems that everyone in the space experienced an uptick. You know, I’ve been telling people I’m fond of, I’m kind of most interested in a platform that has been it’s actually been around since I think 2007. And it’s web based it a little more. Now, not that Trackd does not do this because it sounds like Trackd also does, but it does cater to, you know, players, more than maybe like beat makers or, or DJs. Right. And they have a similar concept. I think it’s all just web based, and you’re using your own DAW, digital audio workstation, and uploading and downloading tracks, but but the whole sharing and inviting people to collaborate is there. And I love what they’re doing. I guess that brings me back to a question. And I should know the answer to this because my conversation with with Grant and some of the research I’ve done; but some of the different everyone’s approaching this a little differently, so my head’s a little jumbled, because I’ve been doing a lot of reading about it today specifically, but did does Trackd, is does it kind of have its own cloud based DAW or are you basically uploading a track that’s like in demo form? And then when it gets shared, like if I will, if I wanted to contribute vocals or something to one of your tracks and mic downloading and then putting it in my own DAW or am I using the app to, to actually just record it.
Rachel Hearnden 22:54
So for me, if sometimes I’ve used other platforms. So I have a couple of bits were programmed some drums or I’ve done a couple of bits via GarageBand. And from GarageBand, I can upload the audio to Trackd, and then from there, I can then record over that. Or if there’s something that I’ve recorded as well, I can upload it to Trackd. It’s the tool is there to either use Trackd the actual recording, you know, the part of it or you can upload something, say, here’s a track that I’ve already done, it’s a good tool to do either of those things. [Okay.] I mean, for me, a lot of my stuff is in demo form. I come up with an idea; everybody does it differently I think. Some people you know, will work on something and get it to a completely finished track and then upload it and share it for everybody. Other people like me might just have a little bit of a demo form and tinker about with a bit of guitar and say, you know, I need some bass and then somebody download it onto their, their song bit and they can add what they want, and upload. Then it comes back as a retrack. I think, everybody, I think it caters for each type of person and what they want to do with that particular piece of music.
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, I’m talking to a guy, another Trackd subscriber who’s pretty active and also has a published some of his stuff on Spotify and probably elsewhere, and I’m guessing that he uses Trackd for the whole thing because he, he’s, like a street performer. So he travels all over the world. And I I’m hard pressed.
Rachel Hearnden 24:35
Rachel Hearnden 24:37
Yes. Yeah, he’s great.
So he’s probably doing everything in Trackd I’m guessing but um, we’ll see, maybe, you know, I don’t know. Is he does he have a traveling DAW with him? I mean, I guess it’s not that hard, right?
Rachel Hearnden 24:49
He he does do quite… Yeah, I think he does. Use mostly Trackd.
I mean, I guess for him, he’s not like my recording. It’s funny. I got into recording this year, as well, and but as a drummer, as you, as you can imagine, as you know, I had to get kind of a larger audio interface somewhat larger to have eight channels and I have a bunch of mics and stands. So I couldn’t see, you know, I can’t I couldn’t do it. If I was a traveling player, I’d be I guess programming some drums and maybe just playing hand percussion. But for him, the nature of the music he plays, I guess it wouldn’t be that hard that maybe he’s got a really, you know, like one of these small Scarlet audio interfaces that travels with him and his laptop and he can do it just as easy on the road.
Rachel Hearnden 25:38
A lot of what he does, I’ve been I’ve seen some videos and bits and pieces and he has like a small setup. And I think like he’ll have like a very small setup with a snare drum and a couple of other bits. As to how he does it, I don’t know. But he’s good.
Yeah, yeah, I’ll ask I’ll have to ask him this afternoon. I’m guessing it’s you know, he’s really using everything Trackd has to offer, where you’re kind of doing a mixed, mixed bag because… So were Rachel, were you recording music at home before you discovered Trackd? Did, did, was Trackd sort of the beginning of audio recording?
Rachel Hearnden 26:19
So I used to kind of, probably not so much recording, but I used to play a lot of things. I may say how I always wanted to record stuff, but not, but the quality of trying to record things on your phone is, you know, it’s not very easy. And then I discovered that when I discovered Spire, and it just so happened, I think I was just Googling or looking up good apps to record music, and it’s probably like tail end of last year into the new year and I’ve never really had the opportunity to kind of record anything. And I started using Spire; and it was very similar kind of thing you know you can you can have the monitor on there, there’s recording levels and you can record things, and but it still had that you know sounded like a phone being left in the room, like when you’re on a call to somebody you can hear something in the background. It didn’t quite have the same, but Trackd, there’s something about what the way that it’s recorded. The sound quality is is better than anything I’ve used, and probably because of Trackd, but I’ve really got into recorded music now. More than, more than I have done in ever, I think.
So what do you say to artists or what would you say to musicians, we’ll use that word instead, but to musicians who really haven’t done any recording, but there otherwise have all the anything they need? Based on your experience now with Trackd. What would you say to them about about Trackd or trying it? Or would you, would you encourage them to do so?
Rachel Hearnden 28:07
Yes, I would, even if it’s just to use it as a demo form to say, I’ve got this idea, you know, and, and you don’t necessarily have to publish what you’ve recorded. You can actually just record it and listen back and think, “Oh, that’s a good idea, I’ll do this, or I’ll do that. It’s a great tool that if you want to publish your music, and you want to collaborations, and you want to have it in the public, you know, that kind of domain you can, but if, if you want to use it as a tool to record things and get ideas, and especially if you bit like Marcus. For somebody that’s always on the go and you’re around, 90% of us carry our phone in our pocket. So having Trackd with you all the time is such a useful tool because, you know, inspiration comes from everywhere, so you could be on a train or you could be out for a walk and you think, I’ve got this idea. You can just get your phone a pocket record it, and you’ve got it. I think that’s the good thing about just modern technology now is that the technology is is so far probably more complex than anything that’s been before. So I would encourage anybody to to give it a go. Whether you want to write a complete song or a demo or even just getting some ideas down, it’s, I would recommend anybody that wants to get into recording music or do it just just go and do it. It’s, it’s great. It really is great.
All right, you talked me into it. So what’s the what’s the number one reason that you would tell? Tell them to, what would be your your answer to someone who says “Well, I can just record it on my voice memo thing on my iPhone.”?
Rachel Hearnden 29:48
But can you record eight tracks on your voice memo?
No [laughs]. [There you go.] I love it.
Rachel Hearnden 29:57
Obviously. It’s it’s that it’s the quality of what you’re recording as well, because not only have you got the eight tracks, but you’ve got a mixer you’ve got and the quality of the sound that you get is, if you may, it’s as close as being in the recording studios as what you’re going to get. I think, personally for my own, like personal listening back to stuff that’s been recorded.
Well, I’m intrigued, I’ll have to give it a try. I knew I would be anyway because I wanted to go in and explore it and, and so you talked me into it.
Rachel Hearnden 30:30
You won’t regret it. And it’s great because it’s things like not only do you record and upload your own music, but you actually discover other artists as well. There are people on there that I go, oh, who’s that? And, you know, it might be that you find them then on Spotify, and you realize that they’ve got an album out and you listen to it, you think there’s all this other music that that you discover, because of that app. It’s not just, you know, it’s not just about recording the collaborating, but discovering as well, it honestly, it’s, it’s, I really enjoy it. And I couldn’t recommend it enough to anybody to be honest.
I love it. Well, Rachel, thank you again for spending time with me. It’s been wonderful connecting with you and really nice talking with you as well.
Rachel Hearnden 31:20
Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure, and I look forward to seeing you on Trackd Robonzo.
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Did you know you can help other independent artists find this podcast by subscribing on Apple podcast or wherever you are listening to your podcast these days. It really does help so I hope you will consider it. The Unstarving Musician podcast is made possible through the support and generosity of listeners like you. One of the easiest ways to support the podcast if you’re a musician is to join the starving musician community which you can do at you guessed it on UnstarvingMusician.com. In joining the community and get tips and insights you can use in your music journey that comes not only from me and my years of experience, but also from the hundreds of other musicians that I see. too as part of the Unstarving Musician project and podcast, plus, you’ll get a free copy of my Unstarving Musicians Guide to Getting Paid Gigs ebook, the official version. And that’s all for free just for being part of the community. You can learn about other ways of offering support by visiting the Unstarving Musician crowd sponsor page at UnstarvingMusician.com/CrowdSponsor. And if you have feedback, please go to UnstarvingMusician.com to get all my contact info, you can text me call me email me leave a voice message right there on that page, just go down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find everything you need to know I really would love to hear any of your comments, suggestions, questions, whatever you’ve got. And you can find links to just about everything talked about in this episode at UnstarvingMusician.com/Podcast.
All right, I’m peacing out. Thank you for listening and sharing with your musician friends and fellow indie music, fans. Peace, gratitude and a whole lot of love.