How to Avoid Artistically Starving to Death

Artistically Starving To Death

I have amazing conversations with artists and songwriters every day; I love my job.  Some of those conversations are with beginners, some with intermediate artists, and some are with professional indie artists whose careers are well on their way.  I have to say with the exception of the pro artists, the beginners and intermediates suffer from the same disease; they lack marketing knowledge.  I should say they seem to lack the very concept & definition, never mind the methodology of marketing.  Simply put their artistically starving to death.

Wha?

Marketing vs. Distribution

Yeah, that’s right, the concept and definition of marketing.  I’ll ask and artist “how exactly are you marketing yourself?”

iTunes logo Artistically StarvingThey will undoubtedly answer, “Well, we are up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc.”  I then wait for their retort to continue, and it doesn’t.  Now I think, What the?!?!

Let’s go back to some good ol’ plain common sense for a second.  Why do record labels have promotion and marketing departments?  I mean if marketing meant getting the music up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc., would actually move product why the HELL would a broke record label keep paying the people in the marketing department?  Any moron can place music up on all these sites; right?Spotify Logo Artistically Starving

How about this perspective:  When you used to go into a record store to buy an album or CD, did you always walk in and magically get attracted to some piece of shrink-wrapped plastic or cardboard spend your money and then leave?  NO!!  You already knew what you wanted to buy which is why you were there in the first place; this is called marketing.  Marketing is the art of influencing buying decisions.  The outlet that is available to sell the product to the person whose buying decision was influenced is the distributor.

Pandora Logo Artistically StarvingGet it?  Just having it “on the shelf” isn’t enough.  In fact, I propose that this is actually part of the problem in today’s music industry; no accountability for product that doesn’t move.  This will never change, but if it did, you would find every artist quickly learning the difference between distribution and marketing; necessity is the mother of invention.

 

Let me explain.  Anderson Distribution is (I believe) the largest music merchandise distributor in the country right now.  They are an awesome company.  They handle the distribution of all CD’s toAnderson Dist Logo Artistically Starving Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Best Buy stores to name a few.  When a Label wants to put product (aka your CD) on the shelves of a Wal-Mart, they go through Anderson Distribution and they need to ensure that the marketing of the product (aka your CD) is already underway or the label gets screwed.  This is initially exciting because to get product (aka your CD) on a Wal-Mart shelf, the minimum order is like 100,000 units.  Do the math, if the retail price is $11.99 then Anderson is probably buying the product (aka your CD) from the label for $6.99; $6.99 x 100,000 = $699,000.00!!!  YEEHAW!!!  Um, er, wait a minute…

Let’s back up and do a little more math.  Anderson doesn’t send you a check in advance for this order, just like every other major corporation their accounts payable is on a Net-60 day basis, or in this economy probably a Net-90 day basis.  In plain English, the record label doesn’t get their quote, $699,000 check, end quote, for 90 days.  So that means that the label is going to front you, the artist, $50,000 to manufacture 100,000 CD’s (this is JUST manufacturing of the CD and they get them for .50 cents each because of the large order, you can too if you order this many) this does not include the cost to ship them to Anderson Distribution.  Now, here’s the tricky part.  Anderson is a business.  Their business is DISTRIBUTING PRODUCT (aka your CD) and if the product (aka your CD) is not moving, Anderson Distribution is not making money.  Get it?  In fact, if the product (aka your CD) is Burning money artistically starvingnot moving Anderson Distribution is LOSING MONEY.  There are a limited number of spaces to place CD’s on a shelf in Wal-Mart, I don’t know exactly what that number is but they are only going to put product on those shelves that will MOVE and make them money.   So, the label essentially has 90 days to sell enough of that product (aka your CD) to show Anderson Distribution that it’s a product (aka your CD) that already is or will be a money maker for them.

What’s the exact number?  I have no freaking idea, but this is just common business sense, if you think about it.

What happens if the label doesn’t move enough product (aka your CD)?  Then the Net-90 payment the label will get from Anderson Distribution will consist of a check in the amount of exactly how many of your CD’s they sold minus the shipping cost to return the rest of the product (aka your CD) that didn’t sell.  YIKES!  You read that correctly.  If you sold 1,000 units, you would get a check for $6,900 minus the cost of shipping the remaining 99,000 units back to you.

Does the label put the product (aka your CD) on the shelves of Wal-Mart and say, “we marketed it because it’s now available to be purchased”?  NO!!  You see, this is where the real fight begins.

What exactly are you doing to win this fight with your music?

So, let’s put that in terms of your music.  Websites like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and your site; these are storefronts, man, not marketing strategies.  They are an online place to stock product (aka your CD) where interested parties can easily purchase it.  Yeah, yeah, you will get a few sales here and there by just stocking product (aka your music), but you will never get enough to repay the cost of recording and manufacturing.  So after (or even before) you stock the product (aka your CD), you need to market it!  You need to expose it to the world and drive business to these storefronts; then people will buy because their buying decision was influenced by your marketing or sometimes by your music!

Good Marketing = Not Artistically Starving!

Are you picking up what I’m putting down?  If you ask yourself, “what am I doing to market my music” and the answer is “I have it up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and my website” then you have already lost the fight.  Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” states that every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought.  Think about that for a second.  Internalize some of these Sun Tzu quotes real quick.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Sun Tzu Art of War Artistically Starving Which one are you?  If your music is up on iTunes and you have no marketing strategy then you are the latter; an already defeated warrior going to war first and hoping to win.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This is huge.  Strategy is defined as a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.  Tactics are defined as the maneuvers themselves or any mode of procedure for gaining advantage or success.  In plain English strategy is the plan, tactics are the methods & procedures used to implement that plan.  So a plan to market your music without procedures is the slowest route to victory.  Employing methods or procedures without a plan is wasted time & energy before certain defeat.  Apply this concept to making sandwiches to get a simple perspective on marketing your music.  If you have a strategy for making a sandwich but never get off your ass to go to the kitchen and make one, you can think about it all you want but the sandwich won’t make itself; you go hungry.  If you go to the kitchen and begin preparing to make a sandwich without strategizing as to exactly what kind of sandwich you want you will waste energy pulling out all the breads, mustards, different lunch meats, lettuce, cheeses, etc for no reason because you haven’t decided on the mission critical strategy; what kind of sandwich you want to make.  Until you actually decide to make a specific sandwich your best efforts are fruitless; you go hungry.  It seems so stupidly simple because it is.

Marketing music is no different than making sandwiches, there are just more details to learn.  The smart artist is going to simplify the idea just like this, and start strategizing and creating/learning tactics.  All the information you need is on the web or in a mentor’s brain for the artists who seek it.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from “Auntie Mame” and it says “You’ve got to live, live, live!  Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”  This is a perfect quote with regards to today’s music marketing because there is literally an embarrassment of effective online marketing methods available right now; and their available to everyone.  Many of these methods are FREE OF CHARGE like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.  If you were forced to prepare before you put product (aka your CD) up on iTunes for fear of product returns and non-distribution after a certain amount of time, you would be pretty focused on marketing, wouldn’t you?

So why aren’t you?

Just because you don’t have any repercussions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t approach stocking product (aka your CD) the same way.

This final Sun Tzu quote is actually my favorite because it’s so inspirational.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
Sun Tzu

In other words, the more you dig in to this marketing thing seriously, the more opportunities you are going to uncover.

The more money you are going to make.

This in turn, means you make more music; because you now make a living as an artist.

Think about it.

 

Stay in Tune

 

If you like this post please SHARE it and/or leave a comment  thank you!

[ois skin=”Bottom Post”]

What if the Label Says YES?

Label YES

So Kelly and I are at a private party with Anthony Orio & friends and we end up in a conversation over beers and cigars about artist development and the damage that happens when artists and/or songwriters get their lucky break too early.  What if you get the opportunity of a lifetime to take a big step towards your dream and you’re not developed enough, ill prepared, or  worse, searching only for fame?  In short, what if the label says YES?!?!

That’s right, I said it.  What if the record label or publishing company says “yes”?  Are you ready?

Do you know where you’re going artistically?

Are you prepared to fight for your vision or will you be lost in the crowd with your hat in your hand?

Do you understand the hustle of the business and how to operate intelligently within it so you can capitalize on the coming momentum?

The NFL has classes that all rookies are required to take to deal with this instantaneous rise in the players brand awareness and cash flow, but they certainly DON’T offer this in the music business.  In fact, they would prefer you don’t know; more money for the powers that be.

You can’t just stick your toes in the water; you have to be ALL IN.  To make a living, you have to be a student of the game.  If you don’t know your business, you’re being lazy.  Trust me, THEY WILL know your business because they’re professionals and you will suffer for your lack of knowledge one way or the other.

What if the Publishing Company Says YES?

Label Neon YES imageOne of conversations we had was centered on the 3 discussions or so we have every week with beginning songwriters.  Often beginners are understandably apprehensive about spending too much on their dream (which they are inevitably conflicted about) so, in lieu of a proper/professionally acceptable demo recording, they go “shopping” for the best deal A.K.A. the cheapest demo price.  I hear it all the time, “I just want to stick my toes in the water to see if anyone cares.  I want to see if anyone is interested before I spend more money.”  Just like any other industry there are people here in Nashville that cater to that market; and just like any other industry, you get what you pay for.  Now, many songwriters are just doing it for posterity to get their music recorded which means the only person they need to impress is themselves so this is a pragmatic approach; this makes sense.  However, the songwriters with serious professional aspirations have to impress the professionals, so they are screwing themselves with a crappy demo recording.  Paying for a $350/song demo in Nashville (which $100 of, will go to the pro singer) will get a guy that is going to play all the instruments on that recording and he’s going to cut it in his basement, and MIX it in his basement: it’s the only way he can afford to charge that low price.  Next, that songwriter will shop the song to song pluggers.  These song pluggers are true professionals so don’t fool yourself, they will instantly be aware that the writer cut corners on this demo (because of the sonic nature of the recording) which immediately makes the writer look unprofessional; 99.999% will not pay attention to the song and pass because that’s a red flag that they’re not ready yet.  If hit songwriters and publishing companies could avoid using live bands on all their demo tapes to save money, believe me they would!  But let’s say that for some reason the song plugger really listens to an amazing song and says YES.  What do you think will happen next?  They will tell the songwriter, “I LOVE this song, man, but I can’t sell this recording of it; so go back and re-record it.”  You see, this “dip your toes in the water” approach has only 2 outcomes for an aspiring professional songwriter:

  1. Most likely they hear a “NO” and alienate the very people they need to bring their product to market because they look unprofessional; you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  2. They hear a “YES” and by the grace of God, the plugger is willing to overlook their naiveté, but the songwriter added $350 of needless extra cost to their first product in a start up business (which could be put towards another song demo to build the catalog).

Everybody has a dream.  Tons of you have dreams of “making it” as a songwriter or a recording artist; but if you’re not somewhat prepared, a “yes” could be the beginning of the end, or at the very least extremely expensive and emotionally exhausting.  To me, “making it” is defined as making a living doing what you LOVE to do.  There are different levels of “making it” based on volume and revenue generated; but if it’s based on making a living doing what you love to do, it’s a solid foundation.  Fame is annoying.  I get why people seek it because I did initially, they shove it down our throats and we consume it like crazy.  I can tell you that fame is a herculean pain-in-the-ass, even in the context of my small-time regional fame; it’s creepy.  Everybody is in your business or is talking about your business like they know you when they don’t have business with you and they don’t know you.  You only get to find this out when you get a little taste.  Eleanor Roosevelt said “Big minds talk about ideas, medium minds talk about events, and small minds talk about people”.  So the search or need to only be famous is an exercise for small brains.  Those who only seek fame come off to me as green (green like inexperienced and green with envy) and therefore somewhat delusional.  You have to do the work, man, or you’re Paris Hilton; a cocktail party joke with a crappy sex tape.

If you want to be iconic, you have to put in the work.

If you want your songs to be timeless, you have to put in the work.

Fame as a byproduct of supreme artistry is a result of great minds, vision, and hard work; it’s no freaking accident.  We all have an image of some super famous entertainer that we feel doesn’t have enough talent and we’re baffled by their fame; they’re famous because they were prepared, they take it more seriously, and work harder than you do.

Real success in the music industry is about tons of preparation and experience over years of time.  Real success rarely happens overnight and when It does, especially in the new music business, it’s “here today, gone LATER today” and usually disastrous to the artist.  So the slow growth will last longer and be worth more in the end…unless you just want to be famous.  Expecting or dreaming about a big break without the work is like expecting to walk into a Major League sporting team for a tryout and getting awarded the top spot on the team; you need your 10,000 hours first.

So, What if the Record Label Says YES?

 

Label Record exec Pig imageIf you get a major label to say “YES” these days it’s because you have generated some kind of attention, a brand, and a following on a reality show, or vocal talent show (where the label feels they have a guaranteed market of sorts) OR you have created real momentum on your own through touring, twitter, Facebook, trackable record sales, sold out concerts, etc., and maybe you’ve managed to fund a Kickstarter campaign with at least 1,000 backers or $100,000 in funds.  Let’s dissect the latter first.

In this scenario you will have turned down several label offers already and the conversation starts with you saying something like this, “What are you guys going to do that I haven’t already done for myself that warrants me giving you MASSIVE percentages of my revenue from record sales, merchandise, publishing, ticket sales, etc?”  This is called leverage at the negotiating table.  Believe me when you are seasoned with momentum you come to the table with a “heavy hammer” and YOU WILL BE PROTECTIVE OF YOUR SMALL PROFITABLE BUSINESS!!  You’re eyes will be open to the many ways a label can screw up your future and in this case all the hard work from your past that put you in the seat at that very negotiating table.

Now let’s dissect the artist who gets a deal after skyrocketing to fame on a TV show or from some other crazy, massively publicized anomaly.  This artist doesn’t really have a heavy hammer at all.  If you win next year’s American Idol, who cares; it’s the 13th season and there are more winners residing in obscurity than there are current, relevant artists.  This is what every up and comer seems to dream about because it looks easy; it’s typically a mess.  Yeah, yeah you get to feel like a Rockstar for a hot second and you hang with all the big names and feel like you’re somebody but then what?  I’ll bet you couldn’t name 5 of the 12 American Idol winners if I put a gun to your head and you’re reading this because YOU’RE IN THE BUSINESS!  They are literally here and gone to the mass public eye.  It’s easy to spot the artists on American Idol that have a true understanding of who they are and the ones that don’t; aka the developed artists as opposed to the undeveloped artists.  For an artist who is green and thrust into the public eye that fast it’s equivalent to starting at McDonald’s on the fry line and getting instantly promoted to a corporate Sr. VP level; you’re instantly promoted to the point of incompetence.

The more hard work you do on your own, the more traction you get as an artist on your own, the less likely you are to sign a major record deal because it just won’t make sense; you’re already making money!  However, if you do choose to sign, your deal will be far more advantageous to you, the artist, than anyone getting a deal off of American Idol.

Your music is everything, man, right?  DON’T CUT CORNERS!Label Cutting Corners image

You need to pay your dues.

You need to be mentored.

You need to be developed.

The Universe is always as it should be.

 

If you like what you hear, please SHARE it with your peeps and please leave a comment below!

[ois skin=”Bottom Post”]

 

 

6 Songwriter Business Strategies

Songwriting Business Strategies feature

By Johnny Dwinell

When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” – Italian Proverb

Songwriter Business Strategies Chess Box image

This can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me, in a way, it means that life is just a game and we are all relatively equal players who are capable of creating our own futures. As long as we believe we can achieve. As David Lee Roth so eloquently put it, “Life is a full contact sport; nobody gets out alive.” Then we all go into a box when it’s over. So this game requires strategy, some serious, deep, thought followed by action to play it like a king as opposed to a pawn. One of the things I like about professional chess competitions is the timer; it requires action.

So what is your strategy? It’s amazing to me how easy it can be to put together a winning strategy when you have accurate information and common sense.

My next question would be what action will you take to execute this strategy? The timer in your game is ticking; make a move.

The good news is that in the entertainment industry, strategy and action are more important than your talent; thatSongwriter Business Strategies Chess Timer image is to say, a killer strategy and the fearlessness to take action are often THE most important talents an artist possesses. I’m quite sure you all have a few examples swimming around in your head right now of hugely successful artists that you feel have zero talent; you know I’m right. Now you know why. It is a fact that when Kelly and I are considering talent to develop, we will take a mediocre talent with unstoppable drive and massive work ethic over some artist with a HUGE talent who is lazy and wants to press the “easy” button to succeed.

 

I’ve compiled 6 steps that songwriters can use to create a real strategy for success.

 

Strategy 1:

Always be writing with no censorship; never pump the brakes on the creative flow of ideas. After you fill up 3 pages Songwriter Business Strategies No Censorship imageof possible lines, then you go back and pick or cultivate the strongest lines to put them together in your song, but you never censor before you put pen to paper. Always be writing because writing is a muscle that needs to be developed. The more you work it out, the stronger it gets. I highly recommend that you purchase The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Don’t let the “Spiritual” part of the title scare you; there is nothing religious in there. This book offers up a 12 week program that will teach you to get out of your own way artistically when it comes to writing. The link I provided is one retailer, you can find this book anywhere so I provided one link to get you started. J

 

Strategy 2:

You should be writing with as many different people as possible. Common sense says that the more people you workSongwriter Business Strategies Co Writing Session Image with the more your circle of influence will expand; consequently so will your rolodex. In other words, more people are going to hear your work, which creates more opportunities for your songs on an exponential level. You will always pick up different little tools from different writers that will help your productivity in a writing session.

 

Strategy 3:

Go Where the Food Is – If you are trying to be a serious songwriter from Des Moines, IA, then the talent pool is Songwriting Business Strategies Sam Kinison understandably going to be shallow; again, common sense. I know this is true because all the serious writers from Des Moines live in LA, NYC, or Nashville.

Why don’t you? After all, this is where the business is happening. One can’t go shark hunting in Des Moines, because there are no sharks, right?

 

Strategy 4:

Songwriter Business Strategies Always Someone imageWrite with people who are better than you. You need mentors to mentally expand your grasp on the craft of songwriting; and it is a craft. These mentors will mentally expand your understanding of the business end as well. If you are working with people who are not as serious about the work as you are, you have stopped moving forward. You have to set up your game to achieve momentum. I promise you will not achieve momentum through the mail.

No publisher is going to hear the song you sent in and call you in your little town to deliver the good news; this is a fairy tale, not real life. In real life, ANY progress in ANY industry is built on relationships. All Ford automobiles come with Firestone tires because of a 100 year old relationship between Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. Relationships with other writers, with publishers, with music supervisors, with artists, with producers, with label executives, etc, are what is going to create opportunity and momentum for you. BTW, publishers are no longer developing writers just like labels aren’t developing talent. That was 10 years ago. The only way anyone gets a publishing deal these days is if they have some sort of social proof that their songs have value in the marketplace, i.e. a hit song. Before you get yourself a hit, you are not going to get a publishing deal.

 

Strategy 5:

You need to write with as many artists as possible. Be a student of the game. Think like a king, and you’ll play like a Songwriter Business Strategies Student of the game imageking. Thinks like a pawn, and you’ll play like a pawn. Record labels are not developing talent because they are no longer making money on the records. Labels need other revenue streams. Back in the 90s, artists like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Garth Brooks, who didn’t write their own material, could exist and thrive on a major label because the labels made millions off of record sales. If you really look at country music in the last decade you will see that all the newer successful acts write or co-write their own material (Lady A, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Brantley Gilbert, Jamey Johnson, etc.). Major labels have gravitated towards this business model of signing artists who write or co-write their own material because they can demand publishing from an artist who has it to give. Thus, labels create a very important revenue stream that is integral to the 360 record deals.

Creating real relationships with up-and-coming artists is now the way you are going to break yourself as a songwriter. Hell, it’s the way many artists like Jamey Johnson have broken themselves, through writing hit songs with other artists. Does this make sense? You want one of those artists to get some traction with your song; it just takes one and then everyone in town will think you mean money.

 

Strategy 6:

Be realistic and aware of the market you are writing for; a KILLER song where the lyrics are outdated is not going to Songwriter Business Strategies Market Awarenessget any attention because those lyrics aren’t currently selling. For instance, country songs in the 90’s were very story oriented like Tim McGraw’s Don’t Take the Girl. in the first verse the boy is 8 years old, in the second verse, he’s 18 years old, in the last verse he’s 23. Compare that to one of Tim’s more recent hits, One of These Nights, and you can see a definite change in the lyric style. These styles trend like anything else and staying on top of the trends will help you increase opportunities for your songs. The fact is while Don’t Take the Girl was a #1 hit in the 90s, it wouldn’t fly in today’s market.

People will always tell you that you need to get lucky, even hit writers in this town will say that. The reality is that Songwriting Business Strategies Prep Plus opp imagethose hit writers and you will have created their own luck. Have you ever heard the old adage “the harder I work, the luckier I get”? Luck is defined as: preparation meets opportunity. Strategically speaking, you need to ensure that you are not only preparing, but preparing intelligently, i.e. moving forward and learning from good professionals. If you position yourself in an environment that is rife with opportunity, your day will come; you’ll get the lucky opportunity and be prepared with the perfect song to take advantage of that opportunity!

Please SHARE this content if you find it beneficial and please leave a comment below!

[ois skin=”Bottom Post”]

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.
Please leave a comment below