Changes Are Afoot! Special Message from Co-Founder Rob Cushing

by Rob Cushing

Mysterious woods

The date was March 21, 2015. About 3 months ago. And we’re now celebrating our 18-month birthday!

So the questions from many of our readers have been: 

  • Where have you been?
  • What’s going on?
  • What’s in store or coming soon?

All that is explained here in this video by The Better Claim music blog co-founder Rob Cushing, who quickly outlines all of the above and details some of the exciting news coming for our blog readers!

Expect a LOT of changes coming to this site over the next few weeks!

SXSW 2015 – What You Need To Know! (bonus at end)

New quick video walkthrough on what YOU need to know for South By Southwest (SXSW) 2015, whether you are there or not…. right here!

Click on the picture to learn more!

BONUS: Stick until the end for an awesome (and FREE) gift!


Album Review – Boston band The Luxury – “Bones and Beaten Heart”

Boston-based band The Luxury are celebrating their 10th anniversary together as a group. And they have quite a bit to celebrate. First, any band that can stay together as an entity for a decade, dealing with several changes in lineup and a brief hiatus and yet can still deliver a powerful and tight performance speaks volumes about the music delivered on stage and in the studio. The current lineup of The Luxury is fronted by its founding member, frontman/guitarist Jason Dunn, (formerly of The Halogens), and also consists of keyboardist Steven Borek, bassist Matt Diekmann and drummer Mark McGettrick.

Throughout these past ten years, The Luxury had released two prior albums (2007’s “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” and 2009’s “In The Wake Of What Won’t Change”), shared the stage with Wheat, Your Vegas, Coldplay, Ra Ra Riot, etc., broke the CMJ Top 200, and won the 2009 WBCN Rock n’ Roll Rumble (whose past winners include ‘Til Tuesday, The Sheila Divine, Bleu, and The Dresden Dolls).


The Luxury is back with their third album (and the first in 5 years), “Bones and Beaten Heart” a conglomerate of 14 songs with essences of Keane, U2, Pink Floyd, The Killers and Muse, with a layer of Duran Duran-ish synthesizer provided by Borek. Jason Dunn says the album’s name references a “psychological timeline” and listening to the third track “Static and Vertigo” explains more on that.

On the album, along with Borek’s synth musings, Diekmann and McGettrick deliver a tight and busy rhythm section to the group. Although “Bones and Beaten Heart” is heavily interlaced with synth, Dunn’s vocal and guitar skills add greatly to the songs as well.

From one melodic wave to the next (with no pause as one song immediately segues into the other), the album opens after a slight synth intro into the upbeat “In Lieu of Goodbye”, the driving fun of “Static and Vertigo”, the trippy groove of “Ring Around The Ghost”, and the atmospheric vocal layerings of “This House”. The listener gets to catch their breath for a brief moment as the laid-back McCartney-synth driven “Losing My Time On You” enters the fray before transitioning over to the ethereal “For You Only”.

“Bones and Beaten Heart”‘s back half continues with the medium-tempo guitar-synth trade-off of “Sleep Through Summer”, a brief interlude with “Moment of Clarity” quickly morphing into the up-tempo percussive beat of “Why Don’t You Cry Anymore”. The album continues with “All I Ever Do Is Win”, the straightforward pop groove of “Season of Perfection”, the hard driving rocker “You Crazy Thing” ( before ending with the Keane-influenced song featured in the video in this review, “Nobody With You” (the video is a live performance of the song).


“Bones and Beaten Heart” drops officially on February 16th (look for it on their official site, with a big record release party slated for February 13th at Cuisine En Locale in Somerville MA (get tickets here) where they’ll be playing the new album in its entirety along with openers Z*L, Vary Lumar and Shadwell. They’ll be following the release party with a heavy tour throughout the Northeast (Pianos in NYC on February 20th, and at the Monkey House in Winooski VT on February 21st for starters) so pay close attention to their official site for more shows to come.

My recommendation? Get your ass out there and pick up a copy of “Bones and Beaten Heart” as soon as humanly possible (check out their official site, at Newbury Comics, iTunes, etc). If you’ve been living under a rock and weren’t familiar with The Luxury beforehand, you will be after February 16th..and then you’ll be wondering how in the hell you ever got along without them in the first place. 

And also do yourself a favor and follow The Luxury by:

And get your Lux on!

Now, One Last Thing and Pay CLOSE ATTENTION!

If you’re a musician, band, DJ, and you’re looking to get a good deal to get music gear as much as 10% off from places like Guitar Center, Sam Ash, Musicians Friend…or looking to get a new MacBook Pro from Apple for your home studio setup at up to 7% off, or book travel arrangements for your tours from places like Travelocity, Priceline,, Orbitz, etc. at a very significant discount, check out this site on how you can do exactly that (and it’s not limited to just music-related stuff in any sense of the word).

Not only can I get you this for FREE, but hell, I’ll even credit you $10 immediately upon signup (which you can put towards the purchase of a copy of Bones and Beaten Heart HINT HINT)!

Go to this site now, check it out, get your discounted music gear, tour bookings, other stuff even if it’s nothing to do with music, and make out like a bandit!

PS: For those of you who may be tired of working a job when you’d rather be out there making music, or making a decent living for minimal time so that you can record and tour, and are interested in learning more, message me at and we’ll chat further!

2015 – A New Year Begins (and what you REALLY need to do this year)


Welcome to a brand new year!

Just think of it….2015…the year of the future (according to the Back to the Future movies). To give some perspective in the music world:

Dire Straits “Money For Nothing” (one of my first self-bought albums) is 30 years old this year.

Smashing Pumpkins “Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness” is 20 years old this year.

Coldplay “X&Y” is 10 years old this year (didn’t Fix You just come out?)

How time flies.

And not only in looking back on what came out for music in those years, but what I wanted to do with my music as well.

And what got me thinking is about all the times in years past when the dreaded New Year would arrive, and with it…

The Resolution.

And how I come to find out that making New Years resolutions regarding my success in music and in business was holding me back.

So, yes, this will not be one of those New Year’s motivational blogs, per se. Instead, let’s get down to real business for a second.

Now, being excited about the New Year is normal…and being enthusiastic about your goals is absolutely necessary…and yes, saying out loud “2015 will be my best year ever!” is highly recommended!


It’s not enough..

Because, when you really get down to actually creating some goals, and making changes in 2015, everything, all of it, depends on one thing:

You getting out of your comfort zone.

And by definition, that’s uncomfortable.

So to do that…

  • You’ll have to make some decisions that you’ve never made.
  • You’ll have to take some actions you’ve never taken.
  • You’ll need to make decisions that your friends, band-mates, colleagues, etc. won’t understand.
  • And you’ll most likely need to take massive action that will make your family raise some eyebrows.

And if you want this year to be different than in past years, you may have to:

  • You’ll have to make MORE decisions that you’ve never made (some of which again, people you know may not understand).
  • You’ll have to take MORE actions than you’ve ever taken (which may even ruffle feathers from family and those you know)

Look, guys…there is NO “safe” or “easy” way to get your big, huge goal.

It WILL involve risk.

And that’s why MOST musicians, MOST entrepreneurs, MOST people who say “This will be the best year ever“, are going to find themselves in the EXACT same situation in 12 months that they are in now.

Because they want it to be easy, comfortable, and risk-free.

So, I actually had a recommendation for you from a friend of mine, which I’ll pass on to you.

Set an alarm on your phone right now for February 1st that says, “Hey! 2015 is now 1/12th gone. What have you done differently?”

Now look, don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about the New Year. BE excited about your goals! It’s part of the formula for winning! Be excited about planning that tour, or for recording that new album, or for getting started on that new business venture (more on that in a sec)!

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that 2015 is going to take care of itself just because you’re excited. It will involve some real work….and it’s going to take making decisions and taking actions that are outside your comfort zone.

But here’s the best part:

You can do it.

There’s something pretty powerful sitting in your chair right now (yeah I’m talking about you).

So go rock 2015, because you CAN do it, and you DESERVE it!

And as for me…

You’re probably wondering where I’ve been, right? I had used to post pretty consistently, and then as of a few months ago I slowed down a bit and then I think my last post before this was a few weeks ago.

Well, as I had addressed in a previous blog post, I’ve made a switch in what I’m doing professionally so that I could further pursue my goals towards making myself financially independent, so that I am able to pursue (and continue doing so) my music without the burden of a corporate job, etc.

And to do that, I had to clean house a bit, which included moving this blog to a new server (hence why it looks differently).

And it’s all good things. I’ve never been happier with where I am as a person, or as a musician, or family guy, or entrepreneur.

It’s because of decisions I’d never made before, and actions I took that I’d never taken before, that were uncomfortable to do, and has gotten me to where I’m at today.

And why I KNOW that 2015 is going to be my best year ever. Because I’m doing those things. And getting awesome results as the result of doing those things.

And I suggest you take a look at what I’m doing that will allow that for you as well.

A few months ago, I hooked up with an incredible team that’s partnered with over 4000 merchants just in the US alone (and on the music side, we’re working closely with places like Apple, Guitar Center, Sam Ash and Musicians Friend for starters) and the opportunity to get into something that’s already paying me to do something that I was doing ANYWAY, even if I had never run into this in the first place?

Hot damn…

Check it out here, and then get back with me ASAP and I’m happy to answer any questions about it once you’ve looked it over.

Either way, make 2015 yours.

So plug in….play….AND LIVE.

Fast Track to a Successful Career in Music, As Taught By…A Mouse?


may be showing my age here….but do you remember what it used to be like when you were younger, and you got home from school or work to watch music videos on MTV?

I do. It used to be the only place you could watch them.

But for the most part, they’ve really been gone from there for a long time.

Matter of fact, the last time that MTV played a music video during prime-time in its entirety…was over 15 years ago. Times have changed…

MTV, VH1, even MTV2 (which was started as a pure music channel so that MTV wouldn’t have to play videos anymore) have entirely changed their programming to match.

Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find not only a music video played on a TV channel, but as a matter of fact, you’ll be equally challenged to find the audience that goes first to TV to view a music video. The online world has quickly become the de facto home of what remains of music videos.

Again, times have changed.

But there’s an important lesson here about musical success…

Let’s put this into more metaphorical terms:

I like to call this “The Difference Between Mice & Humans”. And it’s not what you think. And granted, you may have heard this in some other format, but bear with me as I go through this.

Let’s pretend you put a mouse in a maze with four tunnels. And you put some “cheese” in Tunnel #4.

Here’s what will end up happening:

  • The mouse will check Tunnel #1…and find no cheese.
  • Then he will check Tunnel #2…and find no cheese.
  • Then he will check Tunnel #3…and find no cheese.
  • Then he will check Tunnel #4…and get the cheese.

And if you do this over and over every day….eventually he will start ONLY going to Tunnel #4. He’ll ignore the other tunnels entirely.
Now, here’s the really crazy part: if you move the cheese, here’s what the mouse will do.

The mouse will immediately go to Tunnel #4…and find no cheese. And he will start looking in the other tunnels.

Well, duh! He still wants the cheese, right?

And then when he sees it’s no longer in that Tunnel #4…he’ll just go and start looking in the other tunnels.

OK, so here’s the difference between mice and humans…
When a human finds that there’s no more “cheese” in Tunnel #4…he’ll just keep running down that Tunnel #4 for the rest of his life.

And that’s because we humans, we musicians…like to develop beliefs.

A human will start to “BELIEVE” in Tunnel #4.

And after the “cheese” has gone, a human will go down Tunnel #4…find no “cheese”…and then do it over and over and over…even though he’s not getting any “cheese”.

Then usually, he’ll sit around complaining to everyone how he’s doing everything he was supposed to do…

…how he was doing everything he was taught…

…how the cheese is “supposed” to be there…

…how “lucky” the others are for getting the cheese…

And he will sit there in Tunnel #4 getting no “cheese” until he either dies, goes broke or quits his passion.

So here’s the Moral of the Story…

The “cheese” is whatever you want more of. In music, it’s recognition for the songs you write or play, fame, a large fanbase, a large media and online presence, and of course, just compensation. More related to the business side of music, or business in general, it’s usually sales, or money, or customers.
And the “cheese being moved” is the fact that things CHANGE.

A mouse…and a successful musician…will ADAPT TO CHANGE.

That’s the secret to success. Noticing when things are changing…and adapting.

Because by refusing to adapt to change, you are giving yourself a 100% guaranteed recipe for failure.

For instance, you might have a promotional strategy that your band has been working with that’s been running great…and then suddenly one day you notice that it’s not working as well. And then the results get a bit worse…and a bit worse.

At that point, you have two choices. Sit around and talk about how great your promotions used to be…or you can ADAPT to change and find a new outlet to promote your band for you.

Or maybe you have a record label that you got with a few years ago that had given your musical act some real clout. And it brought new fans through the door in droves. Album sales off the charts.

And then you start to notice that you’re not being given top priority like you used to. And then it gets a little worse. And then even worse…

What do you do?

Do you sit around and say, “Well, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t understand why it’s not working better”? And just keep going without the “cheese” that you need?

Or do you adapt?

Hey, look everyone…I’ll be totally honest with you.

I recently made a change in my business (and as an effect, my music career) that you might not know about…

I’d been working with the same partners for about a year now. And during that time, I greatly enhanced my online presence, got my name out there, and oh yeah, made a REALLY good amount of income while I was at it.

But, as my own goals changed…and the culture of the company with which I partnered changed…

I realized that it was time for me to adapt.

And so I partnered with a new team in a different opportunity.

Did it surprise a lot of people? Yeah.

Did it royally piss some people off? OH yeah.

But, I could either continue to go down that same Tunnel #4. That tunnel which initially provided some great cheese, but after that cheese moved knowing it wasn’t going to satisfy me…

…or I could ADAPT.

And so, I chose to start a new, additional side of my business.

Now, the point of this blog post isn’t about telling you about my new business (although you’re welcome to find out about it if you want).

And it’s not to tell you that you need to be doing something different that what you’re already doing.

I’m simply giving you advice from a successful entrepreneur and musician:

Don’t stay in a rut.

If you’re not getting the “cheese” you want in your life, then adapt.

Whether it’s your music career.

Or your physical health.

Or a relationship.

Or a business.

Or your investments.

Or your parenting.

If you’re not getting what you want…ADAPT.

My fellow musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs…you’re not a tree. If you don’t like where you are…MOVE.

The biggest mistake that you can make is camping out at Tunnel #4 forever because you have a “belief” in Tunnel #4. Because that “cheese” won’t be there forever.

Your job….as a musician…is to adapt to change, and keep moving forward towards your goals.

And sometimes, that means giving up some of your ideas that are keeping you stuck….


I love you guys, and I so appreciate and thank each and every one of my readers!

I’ll leave you with this: if you’d like to see the “new cheese” that I’m working on, it’s kicking ass amazingly well.

One of my new partners that I work closely with did over $90,000 in personal income in his first calendar month…

And my new team is out-producing me by 8-to-1. That is, for every person I partner with in my new business, the team as a whole is partnering with 8 new people.

I’ve NEVER seen duplication like this in a team that’s just 2 months old!

If you’d like some information on that, click here to watch our latest webinar.

Peace out, and more to come.

Feel free to reach back to me at, on Skype (ID is robcushing) or phone me personally at 508-744-3753.


The Better Claim Music Blog – We’ve Found a New Home!


Hi all, a quick note to let you know that has moved to a new server! We’ve transferred over to a new WordPress system that promises more flexibility and easier sharing, posting and readability! More to come soon!

NOTE: The web address for has remained the same! We’re just moving behind the scenes! 

The Right Tool For the Right Job – Making the Most of Your Music Situations (October 20, 2014)

Square Peg in a Round Hole

For some time now I’ve been following two different music gurus, both awesome audio experts but each with their own speaking points…

I’m talking about Joe Gilder of Home Studio Corner, and Graham Cochrane of The Recording Revolution. Both have an awesome monthly seminar/tutorial calledDueling Mixes where they take the same song, mix it down themselves in ProTools, and then allow their subscriber to take those same tracks and make their own mix!

The great thing about these guys is that they have terrific insight into not only the technical side of music, but also some brief lessons in practicality. And admittedly they’re great inspiration for my own blog as well.

Take a recent event that Joe briefly mentioned on his blog. He spoke about where he was on the schedule to play guitar at his local church. And because he would be the only electric guitarist performing that day, he opted to bring his most prized guitar, hisGibson Les Paul Studio, to the rehearsal.

And although he absolutely adores the guitar (and it’s a great model) he spent the whole rehearsal struggling with it.

So, the next day he brought a less expensive model guitar, an Ibanez Artcore semi-hollow body electric, for his actual performance.

And voila, SUCCESS! He had an amazing performance without struggle!

So what happened with Joe between his rehearsal with his premium guitar and the actual performance with the lesser guitar?

You see, because he favored the tone, feel and look of the Les Paul Studio, he had it embedded in his mind that because it was the more expensive guitar that it meant that it was automatically the best choice every – single – time. No matter what situation, no matter what setting.

When that isn’t the case at all. Because when you get down to it, it’s about havingthe right tool for the right job.

Joe found that his Ibanez semi-hollow had a much better tone that fit what he was doing, rather than trying to make his Les Paul Studio fit into a tone. What I mean is that, like the picture above, we sometimes get into a ‘square peg in round hole’ situation.

Joe saw this quickly, and despite his wanting to force-feed his ‘most expensive’ tool, into the process, he pushed past that line of thinking and used what best fit for the performance.

Now granted, his Les Paul Studio is a sweet guitar, and he loves it so much because it’s easy to play. But for this one event, it was not the right tool for the job.

And this is a lesson to learn that could save you, the reader, from spending more money than you absolutely have to on gear.

Because why purchase something just because it’s more expensive? Because it’s ‘what everyone else is getting’? If you’re playing on gear that works great for what you have, stick with it and don’t worry about going for some premium equipment just because that’s the trend.

As Joe states, “Sometimes the piece of gear that costs one-third as much as another piece of gear is the right item for the job.”

He’s even gone so far to go more with stock plug-ins on ProTools for his mixing rather than look to third-party plug-ins, simply because for most of those instances…

It’s the right tool for the right job.

Be sure to follow both Joe and Graham’s sites above.

So here’s your action item for today!

Since we’re on the subject of saving money on your gear…if you’re interested in saving your money by getting cash back on all types of music gear from some very big music brand names that you’re already shopping from..that includes but not limited to:on ProTools setups, computer systems, PA gear, guitars, synths, drums, you name it.

Pretty much anything you’re already getting online IN GENERAL…and ON TOP OF other discounts, sales, etc. you already take advantage of through them….

Then you really need to check this out. And people find it’s hard to say no to…because it’s FREE.

How Successful Musicians Deal With Stress (Sept 29, 2014)


First off, many many thanks to Bernard Marr (follow him on Twitter here) for the inspiration behind today’s article (his original article you can find here. He’s a successful author, speaker and strategist and I was just recently made aware of him when I came across his original article in LinkedIn.

And I thought to myself, “THIS would make an excellent blog article”!

Bernard’s article centers mainly around how successful people deal with stress. Since many musicians we know are successful or are aspiring to be, it also holds true for any rising artist as well that is looking to achieve any success in their music or business.

He starts out quoting a survey by TalentSmart that shows that 90% of top performers in their field know how to manage emotions during stressful times so that they’re able to remain cool and focused on their craft.

And believe it or not, even when you’re doing something you love, there’s stress involved.

Stress with pushing oneself to create the perfect song, to make sure your ‘brand’ gets out to the masses, to ensure that you’re continuing to get the business coming to you in your music management firm or recording studio, etc. Stress in not only STARTING this journey, but in keeping it going!

Stress comes also in worries from ‘where will the money come from’, or ‘what if I bomb on this set’ or ‘what if my client doesn’t like the way I mastered their album?’

Bernard goes on to point out that we can’t avoid most stress that we encounter, so we may as well learn how to deal with it.

And here are a few tips both he and I have for the aspiring artist or business owner in stressful situations and how best to handle them:

Express gratitude for what you have

This might come off as a bit New Age-ish, but studies have shown that continually expressing gratitude for what you have and where you’re going is a proven way to increase a positive mindset and reduce stress…and when that happens, you in turn become more productive!

Stay Positive

Easier said than done, yes, but as Bernard notes (and as I have in past articles), those who are successful view their mistakes and errors as learning experiences to draw on from in the future….not for wallowing over. Attempt to maintain a positive attitude daily…reframe any negative thoughts into a positive thought. For example instead of saying “Ugh, I can’t!” try saying “How can I?”

Practice Taking Care of Yourself

Do you know as a musician, as an entrepreneur, what your biggest asset is? It’s not your equipment, or your bandmates…it’s YOU.

And successful people know fully that they must always care greatly for their greatest asset. This includes making sure you’re getting enough sleep, having a fairly good diet, limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake where possible, and stepping away from technology (including smartphones) and letting yourself disconnect from time to time.

Switch to another medium of creativity like writing, drawing or poetry for a certain period of time. Also, try some form of yoga or breathing exercises…or work on something else completely unrelated that demands total focus (cleaning a mixing console or guitar).

As a result of following this rule, you won’t be continually hopped up on the digital scene or with caffeine and your body (and therefore your mind) will have a chance to relax and adjust.

Have a Routine

Bernard states that a huge factor of stress for any successful person is the number of decisions that we have to make in a single day. Anything from what gauge guitar strings you’re going to use, to whatever new effect you’re going to try for the first time on stage, to dealing with unruly bandmates, partners, club managers, etc. all seem like things of varying sizes but collectively weigh down enough on us to cause an undue amount of stress.

Therefore, try to make as much of your daily stuff a routine as possible. Work on music at the same time every day, answer emails at the same time every day, take breaks at the same time every day, etc. will go a long way towards getting your head out of the little things that suck up the time in our lives to just concentrating on what exactly you need to concentrate on, and by making it a routine you’ll get things done faster, easier and without the headaches involved.

See The Big Picture

As I stated in an earlier article it’s important to always focus on the big picture and not get caught up in minute details. This, as Bernard states, is more emphasis on‘why’ you’re doing something, rather than worrying about the ‘how’. There are things that we do ultimately have to deal with even if we don’t like to, but if you keep the emphasis as to WHY you are doing them, you’ll find it’s much easier to get them accomplished without the stress involved.

Hope you find these helpful, but remember they’ll only help you if you actually put them to practice!

And maybe there are other reasons for stress, including stress behind finding the free time to pursue what you love, or where the money will come from for it. Maybe you’re worked up about when you do start up something, how you’ll be able to learn everything you need to in order to run a successful band or business.

Well, there’s actually a few ways you can follow to do so!

For instance, maybe you’re trying to find the best deal on music gear, and there’s a great drumset at Guitar Center you really love, but you’d rather see if you can get some kind of discount on that there. Or maybe you want a new MacBook Pro for working on ProTools while you’re on tour but don’t want to wait until Christmas when Apple does their annual sale. So how do you find such things, along with anything else you usually buy online anyway from the places you already buy them from anyway, without having to wait for a deal that may never come?

Not only is there a way…but there’s a way to do it for FREE. And it’s a hell of a lot easier to do than you think.

Just reach out to me at and I’ll be happy to share those details with you!

To your success, guys!