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Spinnup’s Creators United: helping creators to create

When times get tough, creators create.

That’s the ethos the team at Spinnup has been operating under for the past few months, since Covid-19 struck and impacted their global community of independent artists. Born from this is Spinnup’s new project, Creators United, an initiative designed to inspire artists to keep up momentum with their music by providing advice, support and a sense of community.

For many Spinnup artists around the world the global pandemic took away their live gigs, songwriting and recording sessions, or even the employment they relied on to fund their music career. Knowing that artists will do what they do best, take a bad situation and turn it into music, Spinnup gave their artists a new platform, providing advice on how to keep making music in lockdown, and a creative outlet to easily release that music for the world to hear.

Creators United combines all-new content skewed to artists in lockdown, a new Spinnup Community Facebook Group, a series of livestream programs, and in the month of May, free single distribution for all artists. This allows all artists to distribute a one or two-track single to the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer (and many more) worry and fee-free. Wanting to share the love further, all artists were given a free release code to share with their music-making mates so they could release a single of their own, free.

Spinnup’s local teams around the world added their own spin, including Spinnup UK’s Lockdown with Spinnup daily livestream performance schedule, with music and fashion magazine, Notion. And in France the Spinnup team ran the Quarantine Challenge competition, and have launched Le Feedback live listening and feedback sessions for artists with their partners at Groover.

Behind the scenes the Spinnup team are working to bring artists more tools, more offers and more support to help them navigate their music careers and keep releasing their music.

As Universal Music Group’s (UMG’s) global DIY distribution service for independent artists, Spinnup helps to discover and sign the best new artists. To date, 80 Spinnup artists have been signed by UMG labels around the world and with every additional new release, breaking artists give themselves a greater chance of being discovered.



Join host Jose Mangin today for the final episode of the virtual take on his festival interview series.

Iconic lifestyle brand, Zippo, and Metal Ambassador™, Jose Mangin, announced a digital version of their festival interview series – ‘Zippo Encore Live with Jose Mangin’.

The series, which launched as interviews captured at festivals in 2017, left the festival fields this year as rock legends join Jose in his studio (remotely, via the power of the internet) to chat about music and creativity in a time of lockdown – all in the name of brightening your day in quarantine. Each week a surprise guest joins Jose, unveiling as the show goes live.

In the past weeks, Jose Mangin has welcomed guests such as Maria Brink from metalcore band In This Moment, M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold and Halestorm members Lzzy and Joe.

Last week, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold told us: “This whole thing is going to make people and us really appreciate being in large gatherings and go to these shows, I can’t wait to go out and do anything – a restaurant, a show. People are going to be dipping their toes back in slowly and there are going to people who just don’t trust being in a crowd of that many people, so it’ll be a slow and gradual build back”.

Previously in the series, Lzzy from Halestorm said: “During this pandemic, every song I sit down to write is purely for me. For all the creatives out there, we are living in the best time to just do whatever the hell you want.”

Since 2000, Jose Mangin has ruled SiriusXM as Director of Music Programming, and is on-air 12 hours every weekday on Octane and Liquid Metal.  On television, Jose hosted Headbangers Ball on MTV2, Latination TV, and several AXS-TV specials. Since 2017, Jose has worked with Zippo as an ambassador for the brand’s Zippo Encore festival program, hosting Zippo Sessions and a video interview series in both the US and the UK.

As music festivals and live music events take a pause for the greater good, Zippo understands the joy that music brings to people’s lives and wants to keep fans spirits high with exclusive conversations between Jose and icons of rock. The final episode will air this Thursday (7th May) at 6pm EDT/3pm PDT on the Zippo Encore Facebook channel, where fans can also view all previous episodes of this year’s series.

Last year saw the 50th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock festival, which was also a big anniversary for Zippo: 50 years since the rumored origins of the lighter in the air moment. The historic encore moment apparently dates to this time in 1969, and since then, the classic Zippo windproof lighter has become a celebrated piece of musical iconography.




Showcasing its expanding roster of innovative artists, independent label Red Bull Records has announced its first-ever Virtual Festival, airing Friday, May 1 exclusively on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.

unnamedHighlighting a lineup of diverse and cutting-edge talent, the multi-genre livestreamed festival will feature intimate at-home performances from Red Bull Records artists, exclusive content, surprise guest appearances and more, entertaining fans across the globe while staying indoors.

Hosted by DJ and television/radio host Hannah Rad, Red Bull Records Virtual Festival will include sets from pop quartet The Aces, hardcore band Beartooth, rapper/producer Blxst, UK alt-pop trio Flawes, indie melodist Gavin Haley, hip-hop artists Kofi and pineappleCITI, and singer-songwriter Sad Alex, with more to be announced.

Red Bull Records Virtual Festival will be airing live on Friday, May 1 at 11AM PST / 2PM EST / 7PM GMT and will help to raise awareness for MusiCares artist support efforts. Follow Red Bull Records on Instagram and Twitter for additional details and festival announcements.

Follow Red Bull Records


Astral Elevator Presents the Psych Rising, Manchester Oct 5th – Last Few Tickets Remaining

If you’re looking for psychotropic aural escapism Astral Elevator has you covered with the Psych Rising, happening in Manchester on October 5th.

On any given night in Manchester, you’ll find an array of gigs to stumble into, but once again Astral Elevator has deftly curated a line up of the finest Psych Rock, Shoegaze, Garage Rock, Post-Punk, and Psych-Doom which you definitely won’t want to miss out on.

Amongst the 15 bands performing across the two stages (no clashes!), you’ll spot the leaders in the revival of psychedelic tones along with promising up and coming talent ready to offer ascension through their colourfully riotous riffs.

In running order, here’s the international array of bands who make it more than obvious why they made the cut.

Astral Elevator


Hazel’s Maze – Cheshire-based Alt Rock offering Melodiously cathartic, ethereally captivating tones.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Sauce – Manchester-based fourpiece renowned for their refreshingly authentic wholesome Rock vibes. It’s like being thrown back to the 90s when everyone seemed to love each other a little more. Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Korto – Punchy riotous supersonic Kraut Rock three-piece bringing their high-octane, sporadically chaotic energy all the way from the French Alps.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

PALE RIDER – One of Liverpool’s most promising newcomers ready to spill their kaleidoscopically nostalgic aural alchemy.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

The Kundalini Genie – Quintessentially captivating hazy melodic Psych Pop reviving the 60s style with Indian Classical, Blues, Folk, and Jazz thrown in for good effect.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Hey Bulldog – Containing easily one of the best guitarists in Manchester, the three-piece will prove exactly why they’re worthy of that accolade as they blend sonic futurism with rhythmic vintage nostalgia.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Kill Your Boyfriend – 2 Piece band flying in from Venice to leave us slightly disconcerted with their dark noisy Shoegaze-laden Post Punk. Imagine PIL and Magazine with a psych infusion and you’ve got Kill Your Boyfriend.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

SeRvo – Cavernously phantasmic ambient Psychedelia from a uniquely captivating French artist renowned for making Shoegaze colder than we’ve ever heard it before.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Frankie Teardrop Dead – A highly acclaimed Manchester-based Dream-Wave act who fuse Psychedelia with roots-deep Rock n Roll to spill enough catharsis to lull to you into a state of colourful euphoric bliss.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Psychic Lemon – Masterfully crafted Space Rock from the Cambridge-based act who have given the revival of Psych Rock a brand-new trajectory.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Phobophobes – The South London Six-piece utilise their serpentine sordid rhythms to flirt with nostalgic tonality whilst simultaneously gripping you with their modern magnetic air of aural dejection. This set is definitely not to be missed.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

The Telescopes – After the release of their 11th studio album, the Telescopes are ready to bring their consciousness-expanding soundscapes to Manchester once more. Expect a stripped and exposed bed of Psychedelic Indie.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

The Gluts – The Milan-based fourpiece will be bringing their atmospherically-charged brand of Noisy Psych-steeped experimental Post Punk to douse you in blistering progressions of over-driven guitars.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Gnod – Raging Psychedelic Noise from the Manchester-based collective who have been rearranging synapses since 2006 with their caustically indulgent sound.
Artist Links: Spotify

Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska – Rounding off the live acts will be the Psych Krautrock band who endearingly describe themselves as being the “UK’s Worst Hawkwind tribute band” – we definitely don’t agree.
Artist Links: Facebook, Spotify

Info: 5th Oct 13:00 – 03:30, Night People & Twisted Wheel, Manchester, £35 + bf

Tickets for the event are now on final release and can be purchased via Skiddle

For more info, head over to the Facebook event page.

Amelia Vandergast


Download Festival 2019

Zippo invited us to check out the talent at the UK’s biggest Rock and Metal festival, how could we resist? Zippo was responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in Rock to their Encore stage including Skid Row, Opeth, Eagles of Death Metal, Rob Zombie, Epica, Stone Temple Pilots, Halestorm, Anthrax, and of course Slayer.

Astonishingly, reflecting on Download Festival 2019 doesn’t just bring back the bad memories of trudging through miles of mud to enter an arena where you were open to the elements of the British Summer.  While plenty of people were quick to throw the “rather you than me” statements at the Download goers, those who stayed warm at home scoffing at us in ankle-deep mud missed some momentous moments which will undoubtedly be remembered for decades.

With acts on the bill to suit fans of Grunge, Thrash, Death Metal, Rock, and even Alt Electronic Hip Hop, each festival goer will undoubtedly have headed to Donnington and got hyped up about different acts. Deciding on the best acts really were just a matter of opinion, so I’ll throw my opinionated hat in the ring and touch on the best moments of the weekend.

  1. Slipknot’s Return












Photo: Matt Eachus

With their latest album, Slipknot decided to go back to the old Iowa sound, while fans have different opinions on whether that’s true or not, there is absolutely no denying that they were more than on form when they took to the stage as the Saturday headliner. The set opened with “People = Shit” instantly affirming that Taylor is in no risk of losing his caustically cathartic vocal power, the rugged growls which spilt from his gorgeous larynx allowed fans to bask in the raw power of the performance which only Slipknot could bring.

It’s one thing to listen to Slipknot tracks on record, but it is quite another to be part of the crowd which Corey Taylor is so keen to make a visceral connection with. Whether that’s through addressing the crowd with his gratitude for their loyalty, or he’s using guttural screams to verse lyrics which express candid poignant nihilism you’d need to be dead inside not to feel anything.

While some acts (who will politely go unmentioned) are definitely due a retirement, Slipknot are just as fresh and powerful as they were in their inception. Even with Taylor recently having double knee surgery, there wasn’t a hint of weakness in the performance. The synergistic chemistry between each of the band members was beyond palpable as they performed their earlier hits alongside the new material which went down just as well as the classics from Iowa.

2. Die Antwoord Confused Everyone












Photo: Joshua Raynor/ Nottingham Post

What’s South African Alt EDM Hip Hop act doing on the Download main stage opening for Slipknot? Aside from leaving everyone bemused, they were absolutely owning it. The Die Antwoord infamous Duo Yolandi and Ninja definitely didn’t leave a lot of Download goers enamoured. Yet for those with an affinity for the extremely controversial group, or even those with an open mind the set was beyond anything any of the more ‘traditional’ bands had to offer.

As I stood at the front finding new sympathy for Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards scene with the pit opening up in front of me, I was hit with the realisation that its bands such as Die Antwoord who will be the future of music. Defilingly loud and reverberant bass flooded the crowd as they brought their unique brand of euphoria. I’m not even altogether sure that I made the conscious decision to join in bouncing to the enveloping beats with the rest of the crowd, but that’s exactly where I found myself; surrendered to the pure magnetic pull of the music which moves between Electro, Techno, and Drum & Bass. Yolandi’s vocals are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but her authenticity as an artist has to be admired regardless, and there’s no denying Ninja isn’t without Charisma. With him as confused as some of the crowd as to why they were, it made me even more grateful to have the opportunity to see them. Many artists like to say that they’ve suffered, but how many of those artists would have ever been able to make something of themselves if they came out of the ghettos of South Africa? Die Antwoord now have my undying respect.

3. Ne Obliviscaris Proved why They Should be a Mainstage Band












Photo Credit: Filipe de Melo

I may have only caught the last half of Ne Obliviscaris’ set after being incredibly disappointed with what Rob Zombie was apathetically bringing to the stage, but once I ambled over to the smaller stage to catch the Melbourne-based Extreme Progressive Metal band, I was finally appeased once more. It was though I stepped into an aural waterfall which doused me with ethereal instrumental synergy. The pulls of the violin strings cut through the atmosphere like a knife in between the heavier arrangements as the two vocalists took turns treating the crowd to beasty growls and harmonic power metal vocals. Becoming immersed in the sound was pretty much none optional as you listened to each instrument carve out a new progression. The first time I saw Ne Obliviscaris, they were supporting Cradle of Filth, and they were an impossible act for Cradle of Filth to follow. I’m definitely pinning Ne Obliviscaris as one of the most talented bands to feature on the entire Download line up. They may not be as renowned as SLAYERRRRRRR, but they ought to be.

4. Eagles of Death Metal Brought Some Californian Sun to Download












Photo: Matthew Higgs

EoDM were the first band of the weekend which I managed to catch, and they instantly made it evident why enduring a British festival was worth it. With frontman Jesse’s enthusiasm, it was absolutely impossible not to be endeared by his presence alone. With their upbeat tongue in cheek tracks such as Cherry Cola, Wanna Be in LA and I Want You So Hard blasting slightly cheesy, infectiously rhythmic Rock through the speakers for a moment, we may as well have been sharing the Californian sun which their tracks were born under.

Review by Amelia Vandergast



Live music and Zippo go hand in hand – literally! For decades crowds have raised their lighters to the sky to show the rock gods that they want an encore! This June, rock on with Zippo and win a Download Zippo windproof lighter to hold high, whether you’re at Download Festival, or anywhere else for that matter!

The limited edition Zippo windproof lighter, worth £30, is usually only available exclusively to buy at the festival – so get your hands on one of these highly collectable pieces of rock memorabilia.

Since the first rockers held their lighters high decades ago, the windproof lighters have become the ultimate accessory to show your love for live music. A&R Factory has teamed up with Zippo to offer you the chance to win one of these much sought-after lighters.


To be in with a chance to win a limited edition Zippo windproof lighter, just answer this simple question:


How to be an Independent Music Artist.

You can start on your own today, now, and be a formidable force in the music industry. Technology offers various avenues to excel as an independent artist. There are endless platforms and information on how you can get to your target audience and gather unlimited followers. Growth in the industry is limitless; it is all about implementing the right strategies.

Here is how to be an independent music artist

Connect with your fans

Success in the music industry is dependent on relationship with your audience. Let your lyrics be fan oriented; speak to them, integrate trendy styles they find interesting. Whenever you get a chance to be on stage, make an exemplary performance. Every performance should be memorable to your fans. Take every opportunity; any local concert or event and sing to the audience. Let people know you are a performer. Appear and play in public regularly.

Besides, consider online interaction with your fans. Make use of all the social media platforms; post your tracks, invite your social circle to concerts. Respond to their comments and reactions. The goal here is to build a rapport. Be easy with fans on social media; don’t ignore any comment, if possible reply on every comment immediately. People will be more interested in your posts when you socialize.

Be active on the online platforms; don’t let a day go by without checking your notifications. Online consistency and regularity guarantees you quick rise in the industry.

Consider vlogging. YouTube offers the best platform for interacting with fans through videos. Create quality and relevant videos regularly, they don’t have to be music oriented every time, can be interactive; so long as it is relevant and interesting to your audience.

Build a brand

In the digital era, a brand is inevitable. Music is a highly competitive industry and you are unlikely to bring anything new to the market, there is no discovery; it is about presenting your products in a unique way.

Create unique and attractive graphics to use on t-shirts, mugs, posters, and business cards. The idea is uniformity; something your target audience can identify from a distance. You don’t have to always introduce yourself. Brand is a technique of creating awareness. If you are not conversant with Photoshop or illustrator, consider hiring a professional designer. However, you should be part of the development process because you have the idea of what you intend your company to be, the graphics should reflect your music and goals. Use the brand everywhere to create awareness; post it on social media, use it as your profile photo and so on. You can never overdo marketing.


To be successful in the music industry you need to be committed and focus 100%. You have to focus only on music and push it to all ends despite challenges. Obviously, you will be discouraged at some point. Music as a career might take long, but again, it is dependent on your strategies. Work hard for it; devote your time on creating beautiful pieces.

This might sound a little but off but yes, you should not have a plan B. Second thoughts or dividing your mind distracts you from music, which should not only be Plan A but the only thing your mind is working on. I know, it gets to a point in life when your peers have lots of money and buying houses; refuse to be tempted to take a job to fit in. Chase your dream. For you to choose music as a career, you have to be passionate; don’t relent, or be distracted by other short term solutions to success in life.

Spend wisely

If you are thinking of how to be an independent music artist, you need to be prepared for the low and high times. Your recording will not be selling every day; you will incur losses from some performances. Like you may have to pay for the auditorium or license because the people who attended are too few to match the cost. When it’s all going fine and everything seems to be opening up with regards to finances, only spend what is necessary.

Actually, it’s highly recommended that you hire an accountant you trust to manage your funds. Should you be lucky to receive an advance and huge money is coming in, go for a music manager, of course a reputable one. Tomorrow is uncertain; you should always save and plan for it. What if you get sick for several weeks or involved in an accident and can’t perform? Strive to remain within a budget to cater for the uncertainties.

Be easy to find

After all the branding, awareness campaigns, and working on quality of your music, establish contact info. People should reach you anytime and from anywhere if they have enquiries or want to buy your music. Also, your fans might need to invite you to their local town. The most effective way of communicating with your audience is through a website. Engage a professional or do it yourself to develop a website with contact information and enhance it with features like live chat and a merchandise page.

How and when you implement these tips determine your success; the answer to how to be an independent music artist is with you.


Do you Submit Music To Blogs?

We are in the digital era and you have little to do about it other than conforming to the trend. If you are to succeed in your career or the music business, it is important to learn aspects of digitization and integrate it in your music. The entertainment industry has billions of enthusiasts with incredible talents in diverse music genres. To be noticed in the industry, you have to employ different tools to be up of the competition.

While there are uncountable artists in the industry, the high demand is yet to be satisfied. Music is like technology, highly dynamic. You have to integrate technology in your marketing. How would people know you exist?

Today, the internet offers a common platform for all nature of customers. Irrespective of your target audience, they are in large numbers online more than anywhere else. Irrespective of whether you are recording music as a passion or career, you need to be heard. Music is a way of communication; it is poetry, it wouldn’t make much sense if you record and listen it to yourself. You need to reach out to an audience and communicate with the rest of people.

We all dread marketing and assume it is unnecessarily difficult, but the truth is it is everything you need to succeed in business; assuming you are doing music as a career hence need to make a living. Whether you want to inspire, entertain or lead people to a supernatural being with your music, you need to promote your music. There is no better way of doing this in the 21st century like submitting to music blogs.

Music blogs

Some people opt to develop personal websites and blogs specifically for this purpose, sharing music. While it is a step and effort in marketing your music, it is not as effective. It can take a long time for you to gain traffic to a personal blog, months and probably years; also, you need to build reputation and trust for people to click and view your blog. The internet is full of malicious intentions hence extra care by users when accessing any sites. Patience is not the issue here, you can wait and build your blog gradually but the wait is not good for business. By the time you gather enough followers and traffic on your blog, your music style or presentation may be obsolete. You need to keep up with technology and trends.

Therefore, the best way to get your music out there for whichever purpose is submitting to professional music blogs. Various blogs offer you a platform to reach out to billions of music enthusiasts in your specific genre.

Some use music as an escape route, some to celebrate and some to calm their minds. The varying preferences are taken care of with different genres; don’t worry about the audience, identify a genre you like and put in your best. The blogs will work out the other promotion dynamics after your submission.

How to submit music to blogs

Submitting to music blogs is a trend in the entertainment industry that you should implement before it is too late. Remember business is about picking up an opportunity at the right time, time, it’s crucial.

Obviously, what you submit must be above standards. Quality is not compromised. Also, it has to be relevant and unique. You have to capture the music blogger’s eye first before you think of the wide audience accessing the blog.

Here are a few tips on how to capture a blogger’s eye

Type of music blog

Music is wide and so are music blogs. If your music is to feature on any of the blogs, it has to be relevant as per content and focus of the blog. Research extensively on nature of blogs and the kind of music tracks posted. It is simple but crucial.

Research on blog type and content will save you time and unnecessary stress. Instead of sending hundreds of emails with no feedback, which is not only frustrating to you but also annoying to the recipients, research and pitch where it is appropriate.

Follow guidelines

Every music blog has specific music submission guidelines. Be sure to follow each instruction to the core to increase your chances of being picked. There are probably thousands of similar submissions on the blog, any mistakes may not be considered. Be thorough and accurate in your submission.

Contact details

Just like other blogs, most music blogs have a submission form for complaints and comments. If you are to be featured on the blog, you have to do better than sending your application through such a submission form. Take time to research on people running the blog, find the editor or someone in charge of music reviews and contact them directly if such guidelines allow.

Be professional

Check on your spelling and grammar. Most of music bloggers are professional writers and would easily pick up a grammar error as a negative. While this may not be in criteria of their selection, it might count. Be on the safe side. Don’t spam, be humble, build relationships and go get them!



Live music and Zippo go hand in hand – literally! For decades crowds have raised their lighters to the sky to show the rock gods that they want an encore! You can rock on with Zippo and win a Download Festival x Zippo windproof lighter to hold high!

The limited edition Zippo windproof lighter is usually only available exclusively to buy at the festival – so get your hands on one of these highly collectable pieces of rock memorabilia.

Since the first rockers held their lighters high decades ago, the windproof lighters have become the ultimate accessory to show your love for live music. We’ve teamed up with Zippo to offer you the chance to win one of these much sought-after lighters.

To be in with a chance to win a limited edition Zippo windproof lighter, just answer this simple question:

Follow Zippo on Facebook, Twitter @ZippoEncore and Instagram @ZippoEncore to be kept up-to-date with the latest news, exclusive offers and exciting announcements about rock’s biggest events and festivals. Remember those who rock, roll with Zippo!

Competition closes 7th June.

Interview News


Radio Pluggers, the London based music-plugging service, has revolutionised the world of music promotion by creating the biggest digital database of worldwide radio contacts in the industry.

Founded by Dave Wiltsher aka Weedy Dave, Radio Pluggers is one of the most powerful radio plugging companies in the world.

Their story started over 20 years ago when Dave, who was working in the industry as a Label owner and also as an artist himself, realised that the radio plugging game needed a serious overhaul – too many pluggers were doing too little, at too high a cost – so he decided to build a business that puts artists first.


 To make a difference, Radio Pluggers shifted from traditional radio plugging by creating the biggest and the most powerful digital database of radio contacts.

“We set out to create the world’s biggest verified database of radio contacts, and around that, we set out to build a service that would help artists get their music heard by as many of our industry contacts as possible.” comments Dave Wiltsher, Radio Pluggers founder.  “A service built for musicians, by musicians.” he adds.

Radio Pluggers allow bands, DJs and independent musicians to get a supreme level of exposure on a global scale, thanks to an unrivalled database of over 24,000 radio contacts, with 9,500+ connections in the US, 3,500+ in the UK and over 8,000 across Europe.


 “Whether you’re an established or independent artist, you can benefit from our digital plugging solution. Our powerful 3-step music promotion is managed from start to finish by industry experts to ensure you receive global audio airplay”, says Wiltsher.

To gain the musicians the exposure they deserve, a dedicated Radio Pluggers team create an Artist Profile featuring the actual record, artist biography and their social media handles, and distribute it to the ever-expanding list of verified media contacts and radio stations for a one-off cost. With extensive reporting, you get to see who engaged with your profile – and who listened to your music. The digital capabilities available make this service the most comprehensive in the industry.

Our offer is a completely transparent online music promotion service with a verified and maintained global database of radio contacts. We don’t make empty promises, but we can tell the musicians exactly who has been listening to their music, and share their feedback.” Dave Wiltsher comments.

Ready to take your music to the next level – visit