6 Music Industry Myths

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I was reading a Bob Lefsetz blog post called “Myths” the other day and it got me thinking (btw, you should subscribe and be reading Lefsetz too) Bob’s a little negative sometimes but there is good, ACCURATE information in there. It’s free, we can never have enough education).

Here are 6 additional myths I thought I would add to the mix with specific regards to the music industry.

Myth #1

Good music will find its own audience. This is categorically untrue.

  • Step 1: make good music!file00041345220
  • Step 2: you have to expose that good music to TONS of people and THEN they will respond to you.
  • In other words YOU have to find your audience.
  • There is a flashpoint somewhere after a massive amount of people are exposed to good music and it takes on a life of its own.
  • It doesn’t happen “magically” on the merits of the music alone, sorry

Myth #2

Your music video will possibly go viral on YouTube.

  • Again, 99.9999% of the time the viral videos are from artists (like Karmin [90 million views now] andNoah Myth Viral Video image[21 million views]) that built up a solid foundation of subscribers through consistent WORK and content before their big video went viral.
  • There are always exceptions to the rule, but if your business model is founded on the success of these very rare occurrences you’re naive; you’re setting yourself up for needless disappointment.
  • FYI, the algorithms change, ranking you higher on YouTube, when a large amount of people view a video within hours of it being posted.
  • The better ranking can post you on the front page of YouTube thus creating a ton of organic traffic.
  • Then it takes on a life of its own when corporate money comes in.

Myth #3

If you make a “demo” of your music then “shop” it to the labels you might get a record deal.

  • Myth Record Labels imageThis procedure was once the normal protocol but that process died 15-20 years ago, seriously. Anybody telling you this is the way to go is out of touch by a decade or two.
  • Of course there are VERY rare exceptions to the rule, but again, if you are basing your future on these exceptions you are betting your entire future on winning the lottery. I mean, it COULD happen, right?
  • Record labels don’t really develop talent like they used to because they can’t afford it anymore.
  • EXAMPLE: In 1978 when Tom Petty released “Damn the Torpedoes” it cost $8.00, that’s the same as $27.14 today.
  • Multiply $27.14 times 500,000, then 1 million, then 10 million. Get it?
  • You are going to have to figure out how to create real momentum on your own.
  • You are going to have to be at least a regional success with a profitable business model before you get your major label deal.
  • FYI, by that time, you probably won’t need the majors anyway. LOL.

Myth #4

Once You get a record deal life will be easier; you’ve made it, you’re finally getting paid. This is so wrong!

  • With the current business model of every record label, once you are signed you now enter into a club where Myth Easy Street imageonly 10% of the artists make money and succeed. The remaining 90% reside in the “artist protection program”; meaning they don’t make money and often can’t get out of their deal.
  • The work STARTS once you get your deal and by that time you better have your team-building, business savvy, and communication skill sets at a very high level or you will be forgotten and put aside; there are just too many people who know how to play the game better than you, that are waiting to take your place.

Myth #5

Artists like Taylor Swift and Trent Reznor made it because they were rich so if you had their money you would make it too. FALSE!

  • Yes, they were rich.
  • Taylor’s father invested GREATLY in her career and Trent is a descendant of the Reznor Air Conditioning Company.file3061238876703
  • Yes, money doesn’t hurt your chances but it isn’t everything.
  • Consider this; there is no shortage of money.
  • If it were just about cash everyone with money who wanted to be a star would be one.
  • It takes WAY more than just money; you have to be the right person in the right place at the right time. (that line is stolen from former Taylor Swift manager Rick Barker)
  • I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone throw PANT-LOADS of money at a career and nothing happens.
  • I’ve seen parents spend over $100,000 on a record for their children with the best producers and nothing happened with it.
  • I’ve seen a father spend $500k to get his daughter on a major tour with a country legend and nothing happened.
  • I’ve seen an artist get an investor with $850K, blow the marketing money on a tour bus (yes, that’s right, a depreciating asset with no tour to use it on because no demand was created, so no revenue stream was produced) and then get an additional $1,000,000.00 and a major label deal (you’ve never heard of this artist, probably never will.)
  • I promise you that Trent Reznor and Taylor Swift have outworked all of you.
  • Trent got a job at a recording studio in Cleveland in the mid-80’s to gain access to the recording equipment late at night where he created the first Nine Inch Nails record, when did he sleep?
  • Taylor had TENS OF THOUSANDS of MySpace fans long before she ever recorded her first song for a record label. She constantly asked the fans what they wanted her to write about; THIS is how she found her audience and connected with them.
  • Think about all work these artists did with little or no immediate return on the time invested.
  • Do you have that kind of resolve about your music?

Myth #6

Writing a hit song happens magically.

  • Look sometimes this does happen but not until the writers understand and honor the fact that songwriting is aMyth Billboard image craft.
  • They KNOW how to toil over the lyrics, melodies, chord changes and work their butts off to do it right.
  • Once you get this concept and put in some serious time, the Gods just might throw a 5-minute hit song in your lap. Yes that song “wrote itself” but it takes a lifetime of work to make it that easy.

 

 

 

 

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