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Here Is Your Bottom Line

Bottom Line Feature MEME

Bottom Line Doubt WomanFar too many of you are dumbfounded and FRUSTRATED because you aren’t selling your CD’s after you put so much time, effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears into your beloved project.

 

How come nobody cares?

 

What is the reason that they aren’t selling?

 

YOU are the reason you aren’t selling.

 

That is to say it’s your business model.

Your bottom line is unless you recognize this fact and adjust accordingly you will continue getting the same results.

 

Bottom Line Signed Contract 2

 

Let’s say you were going to sign your dreamlike coveted major label record deal today. Let’s say the label agreed to a budget of 2 million dollars to launch your career.

 

MAYBE $200,000 would go towards making the record broken up into expenses that range from producers, engineers, studio time, musicians, food and lodging for all, mixing, mastering, and duplication.

 

That leaves $1.8 million.

 

What would they possibly spend that on?

MARKETING!

 

A major label record company never signed an artist using your current business model. That is to record the project the best they can and put it on the shelves, cross their fingers, and hope the world will catch on.

 

90% of the budget would go to exposing the artist’s music to a targeted audience and CREATING DEMAND for a product that nobody actually needs.Bottom LIne Chess

 

It’s a slight bit easier when you make a product that people need and you have to market the product to compete with the other products, like gasoline, automobiles, food, clothing, electronic devices, cleaning supplies, tools, building materials, restaurants, etc.

 

No, you are marketing a product that nobody is looking for or actually needs.

 

This is a trickier challenge. Recognize it and treat it as such.

 

I would imagine MOST of you haven’t really spent ANY money marketing your music meaning 100% of your precious funds were spent recording the project.

Bottom Line Business Plan

 

Those few that have spent any amount of money marketing probably spent 99% of the allotted budget on recording and maybe 1% on marketing, if that.

 

Record labels spend around 10% of the budget making the record, 90% marketing it.

 

You spent 100% of your budget making your CD and zero marketing it.

 

 

And the y’all get frustrated because nobody seems to care.

 

You get more than frustrated.

 

You get downright depressed.

Bottom Line Disappointment Road

 

You begin to doubt.

 

Maybe you’re always doubting and you increase your doubt every time you think about it.

 

You then begin to think of plan B, right?

 

Nobody knows about your music, man.

 

You don’t know how to reach them and they’re NOT looking to find you.

 

If you did know what you were doing, people would know about you.

 

Zero dollars on educating yourself about marketing were spent on your project.

Zero dollars paying a company to market your music were spent on your project.

Or very little was spent and probably misspent at that.

 

Let’s take a look at Daredevil Production artist, Tanya Marie Harris.

Bottom Line Tanya Marie Harris

 

Yes, she’s incredibly talented.

 

She’s also incredibly smart.

 

To be clear we produce Tanya and I occasionally have marketing conversations with her, but Tanya has done all her own marketing.

 

Instead of spending all her money on a whole CD she started with 2 songs. Then spent her precious monetary resources on marketing.

 

In this December 29th Chicago Tribune article she explains just a few of the accomplishments she’s achieved with this approach.

Read it now.

 

Maybe your business model needs to be tweaked?

 

Stay

In

Tune

Quality Over Quantity

Quality vs Quantity Feature image

All too often I see artists overcome the common hurdle of funding their recording budget only to fail miserably at project management. They’re engrossed with recording a full length CD so they focus on how to achieve that goal within their budget parameters.  They choose quantity over quality.Quality vs Quantity Scale image

Professionally this is a poor choice.

What’s your intent?

Do you want to be received as a professional artist or do you want to record a vanity project?

If you intend to sell your project you need to accept the fact that you are competing with all your favorite artists, the ones who inspired you.

Quality stand out in a crowdIt has to be GREAT or you will not stick out of the crowd.

Your mother and your friends will understand how and why your project sounds amateur.

Consumers won’t care.

If the songs don’t blow them away and the record doesn’t sonically sound amazing they won’t buy it.

If consumers don’t buy it that obviously means that they are not listening to it.Quality no buy image

If they’re not listening to the music that means you have a vanity project.

Vanity means it’s just for you, your friends, and your family.

Which is totally fine.

Unless your dream was to make a living making music.

This requires commerce.

 

 

Quality Steve Jobs quote

 

It’s confusing to me to hear artists wax on about how they want to record albums like their heroes did, back when they “made the records they wanted to make”.  However, the artists they speak of were on major labels with incredible infrastructure in all aspects of the record making process.

 

These heroes wrote world class songs (often with hit songwriters).

They worked with world class musicians (often not the same musicians in the band)

They worked with professional engineers, and producers.

Then they recorded in world class studio facilities.

So they “made the records they wanted to make” with a quality-tested team of professionals who earn a living every day making records (which is a vastly different skill set than recording music)

Quality Professionalism Consistency of quality

 

Don’t you think this is an important fact to consider?

 

I mean this is your dream, right?

 

These are your babies, aren’t they?

 

If you want your project to be competitive you will not be able to accomplish this in a home studio all by yourself.

Your undying admiration for music and a Pro-Tools rig is nowhere near enough, you’re going to need experience.

The good news is that it is easier and less expensive than ever before to access quality professionals and create your epic masterpiece.

A little consideration towards project management can go a LONG way to making the dent you need to attract major attention in this business.

 

Attention from consumers.

 

Attention from the industry.

 

Quality over Quantity

Quality Universe quoteI constantly see artists screw up their projects from the get-go. They feel they HAVE to record a full length CD because that’s always been their “dream”.

Was the dream really to record 10 songs, or was the dream to be a professional artist who finds an audience and makes a living selling their music to their fan base?

The problem is a smaller budget won’t allow for quality AND quantity so they erroneously choose quantity and go “shopping” for a place that will take their limited finances and deliver a 10 song CD.

 

I promise, if you are looking for a studio that will charge $250/song or $25/song YOU WILL FIND IT.  Your tracks will suffer greatly but you will indeed have a 10 song CD.

 

Did you win or lose?

 

What if you focused on quality instead of quantity?

CASE STUDY: We were approached by an amazing Canadian singer/songwriter named Tanya Marie Harris.  It was time for her to record her next project.  I remember her saying, “Johnny, for what you and Kelly are charging me for 2 songs, I could record a whole CD up here in Toronto.” I remember preparing my usual response of “Well, we aren’t your guys then” when she followed up with “but it would be mediocre and I need something awesome. This is my last shot and I want these tracks to blow people away.”Quality Tanya Marie Harris

We did exactly that.

Tanya recorded 2 songs and is currently building a real career on the strength of those tracks.  She recorded “A Woman Scorned” and “Secondhand Dreams” which currently has almost 2 million YouTube views and is getting more spins on radio every day.

Tanya is touring constantly.

Tanya signed a deal with a Nashville management company.

She made a dent.

Quality make a dent in the Universe

 

Professional recordings mean that you’re a professional.

 

How nice would it be to hand someone your recordings WITHOUT a disclaimer?

 

 

 

 

To quote Steve Jobs, “Quality is better than quantity.  One home run is better than 2 doubles”

FYI, he put his money where his mouth is. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their very first run of Apple computers out of Wozniak’s garage.  They had a limited budget and chose to manufacture 50 quality computers over a quantity of 500 of a lesser quality. The rest is history.

 

What are you after, home runs or doubles?

 

Find a quality team.

 

Stay in tune.

 

If you like this post, please SHARE it and/or LEAVE A COMMENT thank you!

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5 Things You Need To Know To Cut A Killer Track

Killer Tracks 2

Artists today need their tracks to compete with what they are hearing on the radio; there is just no excuse for a

Killer Track Trident imagecrappy sounding track. In fact, if you’re track sounds like shit, then it’s our first red flag as to just how lazy, un-resourceful, clueless, and out of touch you are with the music business these days; kinda like showing up to a gun fight with a butter knife. Today’s music is consumed so fast and there is so much of it available that YOU HAVE TO BE FREAKING AMAZING in every way to stick out. Why on earth would you cut any corners on your artistry?? I mean, aren’t you the one always complaining about how crappy music is on the radio and how YOUR band could do so much better? If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Here are 5 really good concepts to internalize before you spend any money recording anywhere that will hopefully help you rise above the fray and cut a killer track!

 

Good Demos Are For Songwriters!

Demoing your songs as an artist used to be an essential piece of the puzzle to getting a record deal; nowadays, your demos are more a private process of crafting your songs and arrangements to prepare for a master recording Killer Track Demo CD imagesession. Unless you are a songwriter trying to get an artist to cut your song, you are WASTING YOUR MONEY with demos no matter how much cheaper the process is compared to cutting master tracks! Forget publicly pushing/presenting demos! Record Labels stopped developing talent a decade ago; so they don’t care about your demo no matter how good your songs are! They care about your momentum, how many tickets, CD’s, Merch, and downloads u sell. If you only have $2,500 and you find someone to demo your 8 songs for that price, you wasted $2,500 because that budget will not have been spent on any activity that will create momentum for you. Relax and save more money or cut fewer songs.

Don’t Be Naive In Your Strategy

It’s FAR better to spend your limited budget on 3 or 4 GREAT tracks than 10 mediocre cuts. For the love of GOD if you seriously are trying to make a living in the music industry, do your music right or don’t do it at all! It’s so easy Killer Track Naive imageto freak out on what it costs to really make a great record these days, I get it! The cold hard reality is that you are going to have to spend some money to get this dream of yours going. The more you cut corners, the more you make it an expensive hobby; so don’t be frustrated because you are the one getting in your own way. I think of one of our artists named Tanya Marie Harris from Canada. I remember our first phone conversation, and she said, “Johnny, for what you and Kelly are charging me for 2 songs, I can cut a whole record up here” and my mind went to the pre-programmed response of thinking that we weren’t going to be able to help her, but before I could open my mouth she finished her sentence, “of mediocrity.” She approached her project with us as if it was the end of the world and it HAD to be done right. We ROCKED those 2 songs of hers and she is now blowing up major radio in Canada because she has 2 KILLER tracks. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up with an investor very soon, because she has created real momentum! Bottom line, her approach has opened WAY more doors for her as an artist.

It All Starts With the SONG

This is probably 80% of your problem, your songs suck; or some of them are good and the rest are weak. If you Killer Track a great song imagespend $25,000 recording a lame, crappy song with Mutt Freakin Lange, it’s going to be the most expensive, slickest sounding crappy song on the planet (he would never cut it, but you get my point). Get some co-writes with some seriously talented writers! If you are now saying, but I don’t have any of those where I live then MOVE! Like Sam Kinison said, “GO WERE THE FOOD IS!” It’s quite possible that your songs are very good but maybe just need a little tweaking here is where a good outside ear can make the difference! Which brings us to our next point, Producers.

Get a Producer

Make sure that your Producer has a killer engineer or IS a killer engineer; LISTEN to what they have done. ASK Killer Track Producer Wanted imagewho they have worked with. Your best friend who just went to school for a recording degree is NOT going to deliver for you this time; he/she needs their 10,000 hours before they are going to be able to get anybody to the next level artistically. Since you are responsible for your own development now, you have to think like a record label would think. After you sign with a label, if you are ready to record the next step is PRODUCER SHOPPING so why the hell would you skip this step on your own project? Do you really think a Major Label would allow your buddy right out of school to produce your first effort?? HELL NO!!! I recommend using your buddies with the cool home studios for your creative demo process; use them to craft arrangements and songs, but don’t rely on them to deliver expertise because they have none, or they would be working with professionals already. Kelly went to school and got a recording degree; then he wiped his ass with his diploma and moved to Nashville to learn how to make records. I was an artist right out of high school and learned to make records in a trial by fire kind of method. A good Producer is going to help you pick the songs. A good producer is going to tell you, “NO” to the songs that aren’t ready to be recorded or shouldn’t be recorded at this level. A good Producer is going to have heart to heart discussions about your lane and then service those collaborative decisions musically. A good Producer is going to have relationships with the studio musicians and ensure you don’t get run over by them. A good Producer is going to have the psychological skill-set to push you and your band to artistic performance heights you never thought possible. A good Producer is going to be just as excited about your project as you are!

Be Realistic About Your Band’s Musicianship

You would be surprised how many members of your favorite rock bands didn’t actually cut all or any of their tracks in the studio; the ones that did were AMAZING musicians. In Country music, most professional live musicians, asKiller Track musicianship BW image Godlike as they are live, do not cut in the studio; it’s just a different animal because live is here & gone already and the studio recording is forever. All too often I see bands come in determined that everyone in the band is going to play on the record. If your drummer sucks, then we are going to have to manufacture the performance in Pro Tools to get the track in time and find a groove. If your drummer sucks then your bass player is NEVER going to consistently lock up with the kick drum and this spells S-H-I-T; which means we are going to manufacture the bass performance as well since the drum track has been altered. You see where this goes? It becomes a hot mess and your record sounds, well, MANUFACTURED. You would be better served to make the best recordings possible and let any weaker musicians grow into the role; sorry to say it, but if their feelings are worth the whole record budget you have a problem.
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