How High-Resolution Audio Could Save The Music Industry

High-Resolution FEATURE MEME

You drive into any ghetto in the USA and you can find an 8-year-old kid selling crack on the street corner. The shoes he chooses to wear are usually the most expensive Air Jordan sneakers.


High-Resolution Air JordansBut the kid is 8.


That means he was born in 2009.


Michael Jordan retired in 1993, 16 years before the kid was born.


Odds are he’s probably never even seen a single video of Michael Jordan playing basketball.


Why then, are these shoes so relevant to him that he would spend $280 on a pair?


Answer: Because everyone else is doing it.


This is great marketing. The value to the kid comes from society, not the fact that he has any awareness of Michael Jordan.


Great marketing works on music and the price of music as well, more on that in a second.


Everybody in the industry complains about how there is no more value in recorded music.


They also bitch about the fact that consumers don’t know good sonic quality from poor sonic quality.  They seem perfectly content to settle for crappy sound. If they did know the difference and they all made their purchase decisions on the actual quality of audio, they never would’ve bought CD’s to begin with.


High-Resolution MP3 Over Article

Last week the industry ditched MP3’s for AAC’s both of which sonically don’t come close to competing with WAV files which pale in comparison to analog.








Consumers don’t purchase music based on the quality of the file for the quality’s sake.


It’s obviously about the song but we can be smarter. This doesn’t have to be negative.


I was listening to the hosts of The Music Biz Weekly Podcast discuss Pono Music’s plans to become a high-resolution streaming service. Every one of their points was spot on (I love this podcast) but they missed the boat one very important fact; consumers don’t shop based on value.

High-Resolution Music Biz Weekly Podcast Logo


We all like to think we do but we don’t.


We all shop by comparison.


The only reason music fans glommed onto the CD, a format quality which was exponentially inferior to vinyl, was because they were told to.


Equally so for the MP3. Steve Jobs sold a fancy new device called the iPod which could hold “1,000 songs in your pocket” but only if they were in an MP3 format.


High-Resolution iPod Ad

We loved 1,000 songs in our pocket enough to care less about the audio quality.





Yes, the sonic difference between digital and analog is certainly more apparent with dynamic music like jazz and symphonic music.


Modern music is so compressed only experts can tell the difference.


It’s also true that most consumers these days are listening to their music through ear buds which are drastically subordinate to a larger powered speaker with regards to the frequency spectrum.


High-Resolution EarbudsSo what?


It doesn’t matter.


The argument that all these factors are the reason that consumers won’t adopt better quality audio is hogwash.


It’s true, consumers can’t hear the difference!


It’s not as immediately apparent in the mind of the consumer as a brand-new car vs at rusted out piece-of-crap, although this would be an accurate sonic metaphor.


They can’t distinguish between superior and inferior sound quality because somebody (like Steve Jobs, for instance) never communicated the difference, made it cool, gave them a sufficient reason to purchase, and charged them more for the better quality.


High-Resolution Damn the Torpedoes

Music used to cost $3.00 per song. Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes came out in 1979 and cost $8.00.  Put that into an inflationary calculator and that $8.00 in 1979 is worth around $29.82 today’s dollars.





But Petty’s latest release, Hypnotic Eye, can be purchased on iTunes for $10.99 just like every other record.


This is because one man, Steve Jobs, said so.


If consumers went down in price because they were told to, we can certainly go up in price. The trick is to affect the consumer mind to believe it’s worth it.




High-Resolution Pono Music

Too many industry experts naturally and understandably want to attach the “worth” of the format to a tactile, tangible value. Just listen to that Music Biz podcast and you hear all the intelligent arguments.


Herein lies the mistake.


I’ll explain.


Pono Music was the self-proclaimed “pet project” of Neil Young that he initially funded (at least partially) by a Kickstarter campaign. Pono Music offered (for lack of a better term) “Super-HD” 192k, 24-bit audio files for $3.00 per song.


This was a genius idea, in my opinion, right up until Young went old school and required you to purchase a separate, expensive, clunky device to play the unique audio file required to deliver the Super-HD file.


High-Resolution pono Neil Young



This was an incredible missed opportunity.



The audiophile market has always been extremely small and certainly NEVER in the mainstream.


When vinyl was the ubiquitous format for music, there were sonic enthusiasts who would purchase insanely priced speakers and amplifiers to interpret their favorite recordings at a higher fidelity level than any normal market equipment.


High-Resolution SACDDuring the CD age, we had SACD formats which also provided high-resolution audio but you had to purchase a $3,000 – $20,000 CD player to hear it.


This was inconvenient obviously for the prohibitive cost, but also because the SACD wouldn’t work in the car.


Therefore, only audio elitists would spend that kind of cash to listen to the superior sound quality because they could hear the difference.


That previous statement is partly true. I personally know more than a few dudes who only had all the hottest audio products because someone told them they were the hottest audio products and they had the money to spend and people to impress.


High-Resolution SACD PlayerWhat Neil Young and Pono Music should have done was taken the hint from Gillette; GIVE them the razor and sell them on the blades.




Right now, the music industry has the capability to make everyone feel like and want to be an audiophile, or at least expand that market exponentially, while returning the value of recorded music to its original price at the same time.


High-Resolution Gillette Ad

See how they show you it’s worth it?


The industry can do this because, for the first time, it can be convenient for the consumer to actually be an audiophile if we would just be smart enough to make it that way.



For all the attention to detail that Jobs and Apple are known for in their superior quality products, they completely failed by installing the Quicktime audio player in the iTunes software.


High-Resolution QuickTime Equals Poop 2There is not a bigger piece of crap out there. Total disaster.


If you’ve ever listened to a stereo mix of a song in a recording studio as it plays in Pro-Tools (or any DAW) and then uploaded that same mix into iTunes and listened again, you know exactly what I’m talking about.


It’s like somebody hung some thick wet towels over the tweeters. It’s horrific! (Seriously, what Quicktime family member married someone from Apple to allow this to happen?)


For this reason, there is a company called Amarra Music Software that makes a plugin for iTunes which disengages the Shitateous Quicktime player and sends the signal through their high-resolution audio player.



High-Resolution Amarra Ad



The difference is astounding.






Everything is digital now, and outside devices are dead (even the iPod isn’t around anymore).


High-Resolution iPod NO MEME


Why doesn’t the record industry GIVE consumers an Amarra-like app for free? This app would allow consumers to play all their normal audio files plus the 192k 24-bit high-resolution files.


If we tell them the audio is better, and it truly is, they will purchase it provided it will work everywhere.






I’ve done it, by the way. I have proof this will work.


We tried a psychological marketing experiment on the Bailey James’ fans.


Follow me on this.


Everyone on Bailey’s list got there by downloading a free MP3 file of her latest single (at the time).


We sent out an email with the subject line “I have another gift for you”. In this email, Bailey explained in a video that she needed their opinion on something. She talked about how there was all this chatter regarding high-resolution audio with Jay-Z and Tidal, how HD Radio says they broadcast higher quality than XM-Sirius Satellite Radio (it’s true), and you can get high-resolution streams on the premium Spotify subscription.



Bailey then offered her stamp of approval and told them what to think (intentional neuro-linguistic programming here) by explaining that she’s been in the studio enough to tell the difference between an MP3 file and an HD file (HD file was simply a WAV but we branded it with a term that consumers would immediately understand). She illustrated how she could hear the bigger low-end and smoother highs when she cranks the song.



High-Resolution Them Finger MEMEThen, without asking for anything, she made it about them. She stated, “It doesn’t matter what Jay-Z, HD Radio, Premium Spotify users, or I think, it matters what YOU think.” She told them that she had attached a free HD download of the same single they already have. She was giving this to them because she wanted their feedback.


The only thing she requested in return was for her fans to CRANK the 2 files back-to-back and reply to her via social media as to which one they felt was better.


As you can easily imagine, EVERYONE thanked her for the second free track and clearly favored the HD audio.


Because we told them to.


When Bailey’s EP was released, we offered the normal downloads you’d expect on her web store, but we also offered HD (WAV file) downloads of each song as well as the complete EP.

High-Resolution Bailey Store 2We charged the standard .99 cents for an MP3 file but $1.49 for an HD single.


Over 80% of all the music sales in Bailey’s store were HD audio files.




We told them it was cool and got them to tell each other that it’s cool. That made it cool.


If we all purchased our products solely on price, functionality, and real value, we’d all drive the same cars, wear the same shoes, and tell time on the same watches.


But we don’t.


We shop by comparison.


That kid selling crack in the ghetto wears $280 Air Jordans because he thinks it’s cool. He thinks it’s cool because everyone he looks up to is wearing them.


High-Resolution P.T. Barnum MEME

“Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.” – P.T. Barnum






If it’s convenient, and it’s perceived to be cool because “everyone is doing it” then we can sell Super-HD audio for $3.00 per song.


No, they won’t be able to tell the difference, especially on super compressed pop music but that DOESN’T MATTER.


They will feel like a baller for only $3.00. It’s not that much money.


What would music sales look like in 2017 if every label re-released Super-HD audio files of all the best-selling records?


Oh, and you know what makes those Super HD files sound even better?


A killer expensive set of powered speakers, or headphones, amplifiers, etc., but I digress.









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Ignorant Boxers and Your Success In The Industry

Boxers Feature MEME

I stumbled across a 3-minute video on my Facebook feed that was a compilation of nothing but Mike Tyson knockouts.

Boxers Mike Tyson




That kid was extremely talented. He just threw BOMBS! So many of those knockouts were in the first or second round with a single punch.





That got me on a boxing kick so I moved on the next video on this Vintage Boxing Facebook account and watched the knockouts in the most exciting matches from Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammed Ali, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran, Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez, Rocky Marciano, Evander Hollyfield, Jake LaMotta, Sonny Liston, and more.


Boxers Sugar Ray Leonard

Many of these knockouts were vintage, obviously, but the bouts from the 70’s and the 80’s usually had Don King standing right beside one or BOTH fighters.






For those of you who aren’t aware of Don King, he was one of the most successful boxing promoters on the planet. He was also one of the shadiest individuals ever.

Don (along with other historical fight promoters) was famous for finding boxers with promising talent but screwing them royally out of most of the money they could be making.


Boxers Don King

Boxers Don King By Shawn Lea from Jackson, MS, US – The contenders (cropped), CC BY 2.0, https-//



These boxing “diamonds in the rough” were gifted at a young age but they were from the ghetto so they were also broke, uneducated, naïve, and desperate.


The magic ingredients of boxing talent, naïveté, lack of education, extreme poverty, and despondency made all these guys easy prey for fight promoters. All they had to do was present them a briefcase loaded with $50,000 and a brand-new Cadillac. Now they felt rich and they looked rich so the kids and their mamas were happy and the neighborhood was impressed.






However, these kids, under the tutelage of promoters like Don King, would soon be able to fill venues like Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas with rabid boxing fans paying thousands of dollars for a ticket. The networks were happy to pay for the rights to broadcast these contests on national television creating millions more in revenue. Then Pay-Per-View cable TV became available and the price of poker went up again.


Boxers Ghetto



Some of the more famous talent became durable and lasted long enough to make some money for themselves but most didn’t.






Most boxers ended up broke because they didn’t have the wherewithal to learn the business and understand their value at that stage of the game.


Boxers Boxing Arena Cassius Clay


King had a HUGE personality and was a genius at manipulating the media.


And the consumers.


And the talent.


And arguably some of the events.



This got me to thinking.


Where ever there is an ignorant boxer with a ton of talent, there is going to be a Don King standing beside him with one hand on the microphone waxing patriotically into the TV camera, “THIS IS A GREAT FIGHTER, I LOVE AMERICA!”


His other hand will always be in the Boxer’s pockets shaking him down for every dollar he can make.


Same is true for artists.


Boxers Don King in The Ring

Image By mborowick – Originally posted on Flickr as Bad Ass, CC BY 2.0, https-//

Right now, you’re the ignorant boxer.


This goes for almost all artists, by the way, even the rich and famous major label artists.






Yes, all artists are the ignorant boxer and the role of Don King will be played by companies like Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Slacker, all terrestrial radio stations, and all the record labels.


Superstars like Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, U2, AC/DC, etc. don’t know who their customers are. They know demographics but they don’t have the actual contact information.


Boxers Spotify Logo MEMEBut Spotify does.


iTunes does too.




So, they win. They get all the money. They’ll NEVER share that information either because If they did, they would become irrelevant. We wouldn’t NEED them, or at least the leverage would DRASTICALLY change.


Do you see why the contact information is so valuable? If it wasn’t valuable they wouldn’t care about sharing it.


Boxers iTunes Logo MEME


Why don’t you think it’s that valuable?




All they’re doing is what the record labels and the artists won’t; collecting data and collecting subscriptions. They’re marketing like a modern day online business but labels and artists are Luddites bitching about the glory days and the way it used to be.


Labels don’t get it because it’s never been done that way. That’s the only reason. Even though EVERY other business is doing it this way outside of the music industry, they just won’t adapt.


Boxers Contact information MEME





Think about it. Amazon, Dell Computer, Apple Computer, your favorite grocery store, gas station, restaurants, airlines, and department stores all have your information and probably your credit card number stored; you know, for your convenience.






YOU do business like this every day, but you’re refusing to do business with your music like this.


What would the music business look like if all these iconic artists, and indies like you, had databases and knew EXACTLY who their customers were?


Boxer Amazon Collage




Gasp, what if all artists had their customer’s credit card numbers stored for them? It’s a simple freaking inexpensive plug-in on your website, but I digress.








Don King companies like Spotify would lose their power, maybe become irrelevant. What kind of deal would they need to make to get an artist to allow their music to be featured on their platform if all artists didn’t require their technology to reach the fans anymore?


Spotify doesn’t have a business unless they have traffic. They can’t get the traffic unless millions of people are looking for their favorite artists/brands. Spotify can’t represent the brands if they don’t have licensing agreements with the owners of the master recordings.


Boxer Revenue Per Stream

The record labels are in on the hustle.




You would vomit if you knew the VAST difference in revenue that the record labels collect per stream as opposed to the publishers and the songwriters.


It occurs to me that the boxers didn’t have a choice. They couldn’t target, connect, and grow their audience without characters like Don King.


Boxer S didn't have a choice



But you can.


Still, you don’t.





While Don King was a puppet-master of the media, fans, and talent, you’re a creative genius at lame excuses.


You have the ability to connect directly with your audience, circumventing the proverbial Don Kings but you choose to tell yourself that you “don’t have time” or “don’t understand social media”, and “you hate marketing because you’re an artist”.


Boxers Crying Baby MEME

For this reason, you suffer. You’ll continue to suffer until your passion for the dream dries up with your artist soul.



Ugh, this is so preventable.


When ALL artists understand this simple fact, IF all artists understood this simple fact, it would be disruptive to companies like Spotify and record labels. Possibly even an extinction level event like what the internet did to the travel agencies.



Boxer Expedia Logo



The artists have art and therefore the fans. Their brands create the traffic. Until they learn to do for themselves, there will always be a Spotify or a label to do it for them and take all the money.




I cringe at the remarkably gifted artists, that want to get a deal but have no audience. WHAT IF THE LABEL SAYS YES?


You’re screwed is what happens. You get to tell your mom that you’re a signed artist and that’s super fun until you realize that your deal, PLUS $2.50, will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.


That is until you get an audience.


Boxer Tim McGraw Hits Album




Change the game and the relationships change. An artist doesn’t necessarily NEED a record label if they have an audience. Now the role of a label isn’t to create the audience, but to turn your bonfire into a proverbial forest fire. If the artist has an audience they have cash flow which means the risk to the label is significantly diminished.




The deal structures for new artists with a fan base will change to mimic the contracts the superstars have.


They’ll be more like JV’s (Joint Ventures) and partnerships rather than 360 record deals.


The bigger iconic artists have deals like this because THEY HAVE AN AUDIENCE! Still, even the best of the best remain clueless as to who that audience is exactly…but, again, I digress).


Boxer Praying MEME Hat in your hand



Today, you don’t need to be a superstar to come to the negotiating table with an audience. Assembling an audience means you have POWER and INFLUENCE in that deal instead of holding your hat in your hand hoping for the dream to come true.





THIS. This is the reality that I have been preaching for years here at Daredevil Production.




All the education you need, the tools you need, and the fans you want to reach are easily accessible from the device that you’re reading this article on right now.


Most of it is free.


Some of it costs money but most of you choose not to pay.


You’re buried in unimaginable debt from your student loans for an education that statistically will not serve you in the workplace, but you refuse to “risk” a couple hundred bucks to learn something that will help you in your dream?


Boxer TP MEMEI don’t get it.


How does that make sense?


What are you saving exactly when you forego an education that will actually help you?





If it was easy, everyone would be a rock star, but it’s decidedly NOT brain surgery either.


If you’re willing to fail a few times, learn, work, ADAPT, and persevere, you can connect with your audience and grow your fan base. They’ll lie down in traffic for you, defend you, support you, create fan accounts on social media, and LOVE you.


That’s a promise.


Boxer Worship you


I’ve seen it.


And that’s what you want, right? Love?





It’s all right there at your fingertips but you’re currently letting or planning to allow the Spotifys and record labels take your money or worse, deny you the dream because “you suck at marketing”.


What kind of bullshit is that?


You suck at marketing because you refuse to take it seriously. It’s no wonder.


Boxer At Your Fingertips

I’m always amazed at the ideas my artists come up with when they just start thinking about it.


Wherever there is an ignorant boxer with some talent, you’ll find a Don King ready to siphon every penny he can from that amazing work.


You get to choose.


But do us all a favor and just own it when you do. No complaining, ok?









How Comparing Will Kill Your “Right Now”

Comparing Feature Meme


The Bible had it right. THOU SHALT NOT COVET!

Comparing Bible MEME


Why do we do this? Why do we compare?


Why are we putting so much stock in another artist’s journey?


Especially when we are comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle.


Y’all compare your art with other artists you know and artists you admire, but what exactly are you comparing?


To admire is one thing. That’s what art is for.


Comparing is a complete waste of precious energy.


Comparing Research MEME


I can hear you now saying that you’re “comparing to learn how to be better”.  You think dissecting a song or performance to obtain a deeper understanding and savor the meaning of each note is comparing.




But it’s not.


I call that research. I call that studying. Potato, Pot-AH-tow, these are productive exercises right up until you start comparing.


Comparing Unhealty MEME

Comparing is unhealthy.





Comparing is the playground that your subconscious negative-self built to remind you that you’re not good enough.


Here’s the thing. We all go there occasionally. It’s like the shadows of doubt literally grab us by the hair and drag us to that dark, ugly, schoolyard. There we sit, on the merry-go-round, spinning so fast the outside world is a blur and the only thing our eyes can focus on are the shadows directly across from us.


Comparing Shadows MEME


The more we can recognize the red flags, the easier it is to avoid that rabbit hole.





Now, some of you are rather adept at avoiding this kind of thinking with your art. You know who you are as artists and you’re confident about it. At least more confident than most. (I can usually recognize this artist instantly because the air of authentic creative confidence is palpable. But I digress.)


Comparing Merry Go Round 2 BW



For the more confident artists and every artist, really, it’s level 2 that opens the door to the shadows of doubt.




Level 2 is marketing.


Every day I hear an artist groan about another artist’s marketing.


Must be nice to have all that money.”


“If I just had 10% of their budget I could be making a living.”


Comparing Scary Playground BW


Stop it.


Seriously, STOP IT!




Comparing in marketing is detrimental for the same reasons as coveting someone else’s art.


Comparing presupposes that there is some kind of destination for you. But there is no destination.


The journey is the destination so you’d better love the process.


Comparing Tracks Journey Destination MEME



This goes for creating art and marketing.




First off, when you compare, you’re always at different parts of your respective artist journeys. You must learn to advance but not get overwhelmed.


I started running again a few weeks ago. There is this DEMONIC hill at the beginning of my run.


It’s not that bad, but it is a hill.


Comparing Hill MEME



At the beginning.


And it totally sucks.





I realized that my will to conquer that hill is blown to smithereens if I look up and soak in the distance. It just seems so freaking far away and unachievable.  My attitude sours instantly and the probability of my stopping increases exponentially.


My solution is not to look up.


I keep my head down and focus on my feet. It’s momentum. This approach has the opposite effect on my mood. I’m moving, I’m actually moving! Then before I know it, I’m at the top of the hill. It sneaks up on me.


Comparing Running Just Work MEME



Do you see how comparing your marketing or your art is exactly like my evil hill?




Just focus and double down on the job at hand. Looking too far into the future or too closely at another artist’s journey will rip the hope right out of your chest. It’s a violent experience.


Do you like violence?


Comparing Violence

This is atrocity is preventable.




Keep your head down and W O R K. Before you know it, you will have dominated that little, seemingly insurmountable hill.


It’s just a hill.


The only thing that changes from day to day is our perception of the hill.


Comparing Apples & Oranges MEME


Problem number 2 with comparing on marketing is that you’re inevitably comparing apples and oranges. Your favorite artists are being marketed to you via a system that broke them but won’t break you. If your favorite artist is on their 15th single, they already have a relationship with radio, but you don’t.



Radio is going to take someone’s song off the air to put their song on because they have a brand name. Yes, radio launched that brand name, but it won’t launch yours.


comparing Launch


 In a sense, they’re lucky because they obviously get the push for radio. But at what cost?




It’s far better to approach radio after you have a solid audience built up. It’s way more fun to walk into a station where they’ve added you because they didn’t have a choice as opposed to you having your hat in your hand and begging for a favor.


Screw that.


Comparing Great Dane Leverage MEMEThere are no guarantees on radio. There has never been but now it’s worse. I had a conversation with a manager of this amazing signed act. They are compelling artists. They have a WELL FUNDED deal. The takeaway moment in the conversation came when the manager told me, “Johnny, we’ve spent an OBSCENE amount of money on radio and nobody knows who they are.” For the record, at this stage of the game and with their budget I would venture a guess that an “OBSCENE” amount of money would be in the $350,000-$500,000 range.



How are you feeling about those pings of jealousy now?


Comparing Keep Your Head Down And Work

Keep your head down and work.





Learn about online marketing, story-branding, permission marketing, and how to deeply connect with an audience.


Knowing and owning your audience is the key to your success.


STOP worrying about any other artists. It’s none of your business.


If you are good enough, nobody is stopping you.


Except you.


Comparing If You're Good Enough MEME



Stop complaining that you don’t have time. You’ll find the time if it’s important enough. To me when artists complain about not having the time, they’re really saying all this other stuff is more important.




Focus on the stuff that’s more important and OWN IT.


If this artist thing is important to you, and I mean REALLY important, you’ll get to work.


You’re either acting on the things you love or you’re not.


Coveting is not acting on what you love.


Coveting is subconsciously creating the reason you can’t.










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How To Stop Failing And Grow Your Audience Right Now

I want to talk about your future as an artist.


Let’s discuss the delays and the reason behind the delays.

grow Let's Talk MEME


When I refer to “delays” I’m not referring to “why you’re not a star yet”. No, if you have a solid strategy and you’re executing it, then you should be farther along this year than you were last year. Period.




Many of you, too many of you, in fact, are naively approaching this whole artist thing looking for a free ride of some sort. As if the industry beams you up to the mothership and takes care of everything for you.


Grow Free Ride




You know the routine, “I just need to meet that one record executive, that one manager, that one star who’ll take me on tour and then I’ll be on my way.”





It just doesn’t work that way. It’s not about one home run. It’s about thousands of base hits. If you’re going to be successful (meaning making a comfortable living doing what you were born to do) then you must accept responsibility for everything.


Grow MoneyBall




Yes, there are Cinderella stories of the artist who meets the big wig and that chance meeting changes everyone’s lives but they are few and far between. 99.9999% of all artists who come into your awareness have been grinding for a long time.





You are the CEO of a small company. All CEO’s have to make big decisions, spend money, take risks, understand the market, endure multiple failures, and see the big picture to grow their companies.


Start Growing You're a CEO MEME


CEO’s don’t sit around on the couch pulling on the bong wondering why nobody likes their amazing product or service and bad mouthing the industry for not “getting it”.




CEO’s don’t covet the success of more prominent CEO’s. Their curious about the stories and the work behind all successes and want to learn from them.


As a CEO you need to understand all aspects of the business from creation of the intellectual property to the manufacturing of the product to the marketing of that product.


CEO’s don’t sit around saying, “I’m no good at marketing”.


Grow You're a CEO I'm No Good At Marketing


CEO’s don’t sit around saying, “I don’t have time for marketing”.





The owners of small companies do it all. They master every facet of the business so they can teach the new hires to do it their way as the company grows.


Grow Feet Up MEME


There are BOATLOADS of failed record deal stories. A YouTube star gets a record deal but decides to let the record company take over on their marketing. Then the label they chose doesn’t understand how the artist grew their audience on YouTube and fumbles the football. Now the artist loses their record deal AND their YouTube audience because they weren’t at the helm.



Do you know why Tim McGraw has over 33 #1 hits? It seems easy from the cheap seats, doesn’t it? You think, oh he has the best songwriters beating down his door to give him their best songs. If I had that, I’d have a truckload of #1 singles too.


Grow Tim McGraw


Well, did you ever wonder why other huge stars who have been around just as long don’t have that many #1 singles? I mean, surely those stars get the same kind of respect and response from the hit songwriters and publishing companies, right?






Tim picks the songs, plain and simple.


He’s mastered the art of picking not only hit songs but hit songs that fit his brand.  Tim understands marketing as well.


I promise you Tim looks at whatever record label he’s with as a valued partner that helps him achieve his vision. Tim doesn’t look at them as some mysterious entity that magically makes it all happen for him.


Grow work Hardest Work MEME

It’s work people. Hard work!


The biggest stars, your heroes, are DRIVING.





The hardest work you’ll ever do is starting your own company. You have to create, you have to manufacture, you have to do the marketing, you have to do the accounting, the taxes, the hiring and firing, the selection, and you have to create the budget to make that business grow.


Yes, you own a small business and most of you suck at it because you don’t realize that you own a small business.


Grow Diamond MEME Stars out of Talent


Too many of you think the music business makes stars out of up and coming talent. I can see why it looks that way, but that’s not the case. The music business facilitates the aspirations of up and coming artists who understand how to work.




Some of them hardly have any musical talent, their talent is out-hustling everybody else.


If you suck at business, and you know you suck at business, you’d better find someone who can complement your weaknesses.


But you still have to sign your own checks. Just ask Oprah or Billy Joel. Now how do you think they learned that lesson?


Grow Dreams MEME


I have news for you. You will NOT learn how to market through osmosis. You will NOT learn how to make records in your dreams.




The only way out is THROUGH. You have to roll up your sleeves, make some time to learn about what you don’t know and begin putting a solid, executable strategy together that will get you into growth.


Otherwise, you’re going to end up bitter and bewildered.


CEO’s of small music business companies know that they’re not going to become a star overnight.


CEO’s of small music business companies know that they’re not going to be profitable after the first single or the first record.


Grow Radio Wont Get you into growth MEMECEO’s understand that radio isn’t going to get them into growth like it used to, so they must adapt.




Smart CEO’s know that there has never been a better time to start a small music business than right now! All your customers are out there, just one click away from knowing about you.


Smart CEO’s also know that the lifetime value of a fan/customer is worth far more than the .99 cents or $10.99 that the old music business would have them collect right now.


Smart CEO’s are leery about getting a record deal too soon. “Too soon” meaning they don’t have a big enough audience and therefore they don’t have enough power to influence the relationship.


Grow Crowd MEME

 Smart CEO’s want to stack the deck as much as possible in their favor so they can control their own future.




Smart CEO’s know that nobody is going to care about their small business more than them.









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How To STOP Losing To A Kindergartener

Kindergartener Feature MEME

What the hell does 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, a marshmallow and a Kindergartener have to do with your artist career?


Answer: Everything.Kindergartener Marshmallow Challenge


These were the raw materials presented to several different 4-person groups with a specific challenge.


The Challenge: Each group has 18 minutes to build the tallest freestanding structure they could with the given materials but the marshmallow has to be on top.


In Tom Wujec’s captivating TED Talk, he explains that this task seems simple enough, but it’s actually pretty hard because it forces people to collaborate quickly. Wujec mentions that there is something about this exercise that reveals deep lessons about the nature of collaboration and I would add, the nature of creativity.


Kindergartener Tom Wujec Challenge

Creativity in creating art.




Creativity in marketing art.


Kids Kindergarten Marshmallow GraphTypically, each team spends the first minutes of their precious time orienting themselves to the task. They talk about how the structure will look. They also jockey for position and rank amongst the team (I always say in any band, somebody has to be John, somebody has to be Paul, somebody has to be George, and somebody has to be Ringo…but I digress).


Then the group begins planning, organizing, and they lay out the spaghetti.


Next, the group will spend the majority of their time assembling the sticks into ever-growing structures and finally, as the clock is winding down, somebody grabs the marshmallow and gingerly puts it on top; Ta-Da!


Kindergartener Ta-Da







Then they stand back and admire their work, but what mostly happens is the “Ta-Da” moment turns into an “Uh-Oh” as the weight of the marshmallow buckles the poorly designed structure and it collapses.


Kindergartener Uh Oh


They could try to do it again, but they’re out of time.




What’s interesting is that the same groups have more “Uh-Oh” moments than others.


The group that consistently performs the worst are recent graduates of business school.


Kid Kindergarten GraduateThe group that consistently has more “Ta-Da” moments during these experiments are recent graduates of Kindergarten.





Even more compelling is not only do these 5-year-olds constantly produce the tallest reliable structures, they also produce the most creatively interesting structures.


Whoa! You must be asking yourself, why?


There are a few reasons. The first is that none of the 5-year-olds spend any time trying to be CEO of Spaghetti Inc., they don’t jockey for power and prestige amongst the group.


Kindergarten Making Stuff Politics



That’s a gripping statistic all by itself. The Kindergarteners don’t overthink the project or the social structure within the group, they just get down the business of making cool stuff!




What’s more enthralling is that business students are trained to find the single right plan and then they execute on it. Therefore, they put the marshmallow on the top at the end. Then it fails but they’re out of time so it becomes a CRISIS!


Kindergarten Start With The Marshmallow MEMEWhat the Kindergarteners do differently is they start with the marshmallow. They are always putting the marshmallow on top, failing, then tweaking the prototype and attempting again. So, their “uneducated” process is to prototype-refine, prototype-refine, and so on until they run out of time. But by then they’ve figured out a couple ways NOT to do it and stumbled onto a successful design.



The Kindergartener’s process supplies instant feedback about what works and what doesn’t work and they adjust accordingly.


They learn from the previous failures.


Kindergarten Marshmallow Graph EDIT



Kindergarteners regularly outperformed groups of business school graduates, lawyers, and CEO’s of fortune 50 companies. The only group that habitually beat the kids were architects and engineers.






Even more interesting is that the CEO’s performance was greatly improved if an executive administrator was added into the mix. This was because the Executive admins have special skills of facilitation. They manage the process.


Kindergarten Marshmallow Graph



Fascinating, right?





Ask yourself how educated and how effective you are on managing different processes in your career. If you’re lacking GET HELP.


Kindergarten Failure MEME Learn from



I think some of you behave like business school graduates with regards to creating your art. You’ve been taught to do that, so you must unlearn it. JUST DO IT. Just keep writing and tinkering until you start to create something that works. This approach will also help you with the occasional bouts of apathy or writer’s block as well. Set aside some time to be creative and then…create!




Not for nothing, this is how John Lennon and Paul McCartney honed their songwriting skills. Admittedly, their first 50-150 songs (depending on the interview you read) were complete rubbish.


Kindergarten Lennon McCartney MEME



Most of you behave like business school graduates when it comes to marketing your music. In this case, society and the inaccurate little stories you tell yourselves about marketing are the “education” that is crippling your performances.




Because your (understandable) negative feelings and reactions to poor marketing or the idea of marketing are so strong, you choose not to learn about marketing. It’s easier to tell yourself that someone will discover you and they’ll take care of necessary “finding your audience” part of the equation.


Kindergarten Salesman MEMEI wanted to share this TED Talk with you because marketing for each artist is always unique. Fans often react to attributes we weren’t thinking about when we market our artists here at Daredevil Production.




Thus, with your marketing, you should expect a boatload of failure just like the Kindergarteners.


Kindergarten Prototype Refine Repeat MEME



Refine your failed approach, try something new, and repeat.




This is the formula for success with marketing your music which allows you to connect with your audience.


Kindergarten Experiment With Marketing MEME



Do you see how it’s just like writing a song? “Well, that didn’t work, would it be better if we did this?”





The market reality is that MOST artists either choose not to market or they market their music poorly.


We don’t see, hear, or talk anything about the artists who choose not to market, do we?


Kindergarten No See Hear or Talk Monkeys



Read that one more time and let it sink in.





What’s more concerning is that, as humans, we predictably react depressingly to the artist that have crappy marketing techniques.


Again, MOST artists (and labels) don’t know what they’re doing online so it’s freaking EVERYWHERE we turn!


Kindergarten Psychadelic Skull & Bones MEME

This barrage of noise and negative anti-marketing-matter creep into our psyches and we subconsciously develop an aversion towards marketing.






Marketing makes us sick.


But the secret lies in the fact that the artists who can identify this dynamic within themselves and begin to shamelessly prototype different marketing approaches will TOWER over their competition. They’ll dominate quickly as well.


It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn’t rocket science either. It’s just work.


Kindergarten No Mistakes in Marketing



You’ll figure it out if you just have the courage and scientific approach of a Kindergartener.




This isn’t the old record business where a failure would ruin your career (Think Billy Squier’s “Rock Me Tonight” video) because it was broadcast to a huge audience.


No, this is the new music business. A failure means NOBODY SAW IT so you’re right where you started; undiscoverable. No blood no foul.


Now, the question is, are you smarter than a Kindergartener?












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Think About Growth And Your Audience Will Empower You

Audience Feature MEME

Audience Collect The Contact DataMany of you have now become aware of different indie artist self-help gurus and they have one common message; collect contact data.




Not for nothing, major label artists, famous people, actors, radio stations, ministers (big and small God’s children all God’s children), film studios, and TV networks could all change their worlds forever with this marketing strategy.


The tactic is called Permission Marketing.


Audience Permission Marketing


I’ve written about this before, but in this article, I’m going to focus on a little perspective and then some real-world applications so y’all can get a better grasp of how it would help you.




Here’s the whole idea of Permission Marketing in one quick sentence.


Permission Marketing is the concept that the future value of a fan is worth FAR more than .99 cents or $10.99 the old music business would have us collect from them right now.


Audience PM Definition MEME




Does that make sense?





Audience Broadcasting Success MEMEThe old methodology to break an artist was blasting the message about the artist via many different mass media channels. As tens of millions of people are exposed to the artist’s work via radio, TV, print mediums, and live shows, we would get a small percentage of new fans to become aware of that artist or song. Once a single person has been exposed to the artist via mass media at least 7 or 8 times (which requires massive frequency in the message) the more we will begin to convert those new fans into paying customers.


Right now, too many of you subscribe to this archaic promotion method. It doesn’t work anymore.


Want proof?


How are your sales?


How’re the record businesses sales?



Audience Your Sales Suck Image

The Record businesses sales suck and so do yours. Guess what, it’s not working.




Yikes. Sorry, but I’m trying to be real here.


Here’s the issue with the old method in a nutshell.


There are no masses anymore. The conversion rates have ALWAYS been small percentages. But mass media was super powerful despite the low percentage of conversions because the masses were so BIG!


Now they’re infinitesimal and growing smaller every day.


How big were the masses back in the day?


When the Beatles performed their American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show February 6th, 1964 there were 78 million people watching that show! If 1% of the people converted (I believe that percentage was insanely higher but I digress), that means 780,000 people went out and purchased a record the next day.


Audience Conversion MEME







How infinitesimal are they now?


Today one of our biggest hit TV shows is The Walking Dead. Their audience is about 3-5 million people. So, if it were a music oriented show, that means a 1% conversion rate would get you about 30,000-50,000 in sales, but the conversions are much lower than 1%, therefore it would be less.




Yeah, the Beatles stuck out like a sore thumb in 1964 for various SIGNIFICANT reasons:

  • They towered over a VERY small pool of artistic competition with incredibly amazing art.Audience Clutter 3,500 Messages image
  • The people they were reaching were not inundated with 3,500 ad messages per day, not even close.
  • Thousands of incredible and wannabe artists were not clogging the ad channels with their art.
  • The day after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show the masses all heard the single on the radio because they didn’t have choices in the car; they had to listen.
  • There were only 3 channels on TV for the whole country and probably 1 maybe 2 choices for radio in any given city.


Do you see how much everything has changed?


Here’s a real world practical example of how Permission Marketing will change your life. I’m going to break it down from a more exposed indie artist all the way down to an artist that is early on their journey so follow me on this.


I received a call from one of the highest profile artists we’ve ever explored a relationship with, who I think gets Permission Marketing.


He’s a 28-year-old MBA, entrepreneur, rap artist, and TV personality.


Audience Shawn Satellite MEMEHe said something like this, “Johnny, I cut my teeth on multiple MTV shows where I was the host. I’m currently signed with Disney as I am a cast member on a new ABC reality show. I just dropped a single featuring Snoop Dog, we’re shooting the video next week. I parlayed all that heat into a new reality show on Bravo (which isn’t in production yet). I sold out 5,000 tickets for a show last New Year’s Eve. Oh, and I’ll know in the next 2 weeks if I get the lead role in a feature film for a major franchise (because it’s between me and one other guy). So, tell me, how would your marketing approach apply to me?”



Here’s what I said.


“Let’s suppose that we were working together from the beginning of your MTV days. We would scrub the internet looking for everybody that hash-tagged you or mentioned your name. They’re easy to find and the social media mentions would be busy during the airing of any given episode. Now depending on what your idea of fame is (meaning doAudience Shawn Explanation MEME you feel like following somebody first is smart or do you feel following somebody first will undermine your fame?) we go out and follow them all. Then, to the ones who follow us back, we offer a free song download or something valuable to them. Now we own the information. If we did that for both MTV shows, the new ABC show, collected information during your sold-out NYE show, and the Bravo show how many contacts would we have?  Oh, let’s not forget the Snoop Dog single! If you’re in the video with him, that’s instant credibility for you. Snoop’s social media wells are the gift that will keep on giving. After all that, could we maybe have 1 million emails? NOW, apply that power to the conversations you’re having with the huge feature film franchise. If it’s between you and one other guy, it’s safe to say that they like your acting chops, they like your look, but the only thing they need to figure out is who is going to fit better. What if you had 1 million contacts who are rabidly awaiting your next message that would directly receive the trailer and some BTS access during shooting? THAT’s TICKET SALES. THAT’S MONEY! THAT’S POWER!”


Do you see what I’m getting at here?


Are you picking up what I’m putting down?


Can you even vaguely see how having the contact list would tip the scales in this situation?


the more an artist gets directly connected to his fans the less he needs 3rd party entities to connect him with an audience.


He’ll still need those 3rd party entities to help him create and distribute his art, but can you envision how drastically the role of that 3rd party changes when he comes to the table with an audience that he can contact at will?


Audience The Bigger The Artists Audience MEME

The bigger his audience, the more power he has.




These 3rd party entities are TV networks, TV production companies, record labels, movie studios, radio stations, corporate sponsorships, branding and co-branding opportunities, etc.


Audience iPhone MEMEEnvision the record labels coming to you because you have an audience, you can quantify that audience, and you can contact them directly.


What would that do for an actor?


An actor with 1 million contacts could take on indie film pet-projects and get immediate funding because the investors would know that they already had an audience to recoup their money.


What would that do for a minister?


I was interviewing a potential new intern this past week. His resume showed me that while he was interested in the music business, he was deeply involved in his church and had some ideas about being a minister.


Audience Preacher MEME


Can you imagine the work you could accomplish if you were a minister with 1 million contacts? Get everyone to donate $1 To build schools or houses in Haiti. Boom, just like that you’re on your way! They know you. You have their permission to reach out because your content is relevant and personal to them, it’s consistent, and they trust you to be a good steward of their money. Of course, you would need to spend a small portion of that money ensuring that you document what their $1 investment did for them, but that position would be quite powerful.






Audience Crowdfunding Collage




Permission Marketing is the mother of crowdfunding. If you do a good enough job with the permission, you arguably wouldn’t need a crowdfunding platform, you could just take the money because they trust you with it.


What about on a smaller indie artist level?


Audience Bailey James Instagram



Well, I have a 14-year-old artist named Bailey James. She currently has about 39,000 followers on Instagram. When we started with her she had about 100 or so.  Her Instagram account is large and engaged so she now gets paid good money post stuff on her account. She’s considered an influencer. Bailey has played 3 shows so far. She is in the early stages of her artistic journey, but her audience is strong and growing every day.




Audience Bailey Fan Accounts 1

Bailey has over 20-30 fan created social media fan accounts.





I’m relatively sure that’s more than most of you. See the power in the strategy?


Audience Bailey Fans 2




Her strength in social media has gotten her many opportunities with PR companies, musicians, and corporate relations.  For instance, her relationship with The Jason Foundation was largely due to her social media audience. That relationship with JFI has led us to a decently paid, full-production gig during CMA week for a private fundraiser.





Bailey has a contact list but it’s small right now. That list will probably triple during her first radio tour this summer.


What if you’re an indie artist who plays a ton of shows?


Man, if you’re not collecting contact info at every show, you’re an idiot. I don’t care if there are 5 people at the show, those numbers add up over time. Think about how many shows you play per year and your average audience size. Add up those numbers. It becomes quite clear that touring artists have a massive opportunity to grow a list if they just understood what was right in front of them. Even for a weekend warrior, you’d have 10’s of thousands of contacts after just 1 short year.


Imagine an indie artist with just 100,000 contacts, which is TOTALLY doable in less than 2 years for a band that plays every weekend. What brands would be interested in a direct rifle shot into the hands of 100,000 people that are waiting to hear what the artist will say, sing, play, wear, drink, eat, watch, etc.?


Audience Collecting at Live Shows MEME

How much could that artist make with one video message?




What about a TV network or production company?


Imagine possessing a massive list of people who love a specific kind of content like zombie thrillers. Now you can email them directly to make them aware of your new show for free.


Do you see how this is so important?


Bottom line, the bigger your audience, the more power you have. Your audience will grow slowly so get going on it immediately.


The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now.


Grow your audience, increase your power, increase your income.









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3 Marketing Tweaks That Will Expand Your Audience Immediately

Marketing Tweaks Feature MEME

Marketing Tweaks Chess Challenges MEMEMost great indie artists have incredible art but experience challenges connecting to new fans because their marketing approach needs tweaking.


There is a healthy contingent of artists who are legitimately trying to market but are naively going about it the wrong way.


A keen understanding of marketing is exactly what will put the power in your hands and that power is more than you can imagine.


Marketing Tweaks Power In Your Hands



Yes, you the artist, can hold all the cards if you simply make a few tweaks in your philosophy of marketing.



I wanted to provide some clarity to indie music marketing with this article.


First, indie artists must understand, as basic as this is, the difference between distribution and marketing.





Putting your song up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Bandzoogle, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, and YouTube, etc. is distribution.






Distribution is WHERE consumers will go to purchase or consume something.


Marketing is WHY the consumer is going there to purchase it.


Marketing Tweaks Marketing Stage MEME


For instance, most of you have probably made a purchase on Amazon. They are a distributor. But you didn’t buy the product because it was on Amazon, did you? You weren’t just randomly “shopping” by scrolling through Amazon web pages when you came across this shiny thing that made you pull out your credit card.




No, you were marketed to first. You were made aware of the product and somehow your buying decision was influenced enough to want to purchase it. That’s marketing!


Then you chose to go to Amazon to get it. That’s distribution.


Big Difference.


I want you to think about marketing your music with that story in mind. What is going to get people excited enough to learn more about you and your music?


Marketing Tweaks Growth Seedling MEME


Putting your original songs up on YouTube is distribution. The only people who are going to experience that music are already aware of you as an artist. Think about that. This approach is not getting you into growth.




Marketing your music is not JUST about making sure your current fans are aware of any new releases.


Marketing for the indie artist is about finding new people to expose your music too.


The previous statement may sound ridiculously elementary to some of you, but you’re not using the tools you currently have in the correct manner to grow your audience.


I know this because I see it every day with almost ALL indie artists as well as signed artists!!


One slight tweak in your approach on YouTube changes everything.


Marketing Tweaks Find MEME Possessed



Post a video of you interpreting a cover song that is popular right now. This cover song will generate a ton of traffic and a small percentage of people who are looking for the original artist’s video will stumble across your version and watch it.




That equals new people watching you as an artist. That’s growth.


Not only are they experiencing your spin on a song they are already familiar with, but because they know the song, their subconscious focus is on your interpretation.


The information that is coming through as they watch is your artistry.


Marketing Tweaks End Card Template YouTube


If you’re good, people will respond. Not for nothing, often by doing this important work you’ll find things that people respond to that you weren’t aware you posessed.


If you ask them, they’ll subscribe.


If you’re smart, you’ll give them a free download in exchange for their email address so you own the information. More on that later.


If they learn to like YOU, the artist, then they’ll be far more likely to listen to your original music. When they do listen, they’ll have an open mind and an open heart because your cover rendition won their heart and they’re prepared to love you.


This is marketing on YouTube.


If you think about it, it’s not that different from American Idol or The Voice, is it?


Marketing Tweaks The Voice Traffic MEME


It’s important to note that in a situation like TV, old popular covers will be effective because the TV show is bringing the new people to see the artist. The TV show is providing the traffic but on YouTube the new songs are what is driving the traffic.


Get it?




Always ask yourself, where’s the traffic coming from? This will influence your song choices.


Second, let’s talk about social media.


Most indie artists copy their idols’ social media behaviors. They have posts doing this or that on stage or behind the scenes, etc.


Marketing Tweaks BLIND



This method is important but you need to recognize that it only supports the fans who are aware of you as an artist. Think about it, if they don’t know you, how are they going to see a post like that?





Don’t get me wrong, this is an important piece of your social media strategy, but only for your current fans. This method does little if anything for expanding your audience.


To market on social media means getting your content in front of new people that aren’t currently aware of you.


This requires a different thought process and execution strategy.


Take off your artist hat and put on your record label executive hat just for a second.


Marketing Tweaks MC X Factor MEME


You just signed the greatest baby act in the world; YOU.


But nobody knows about this new artist so how are you going to get that artist in front of a new targeted group of people who will probably like your artist’s music?




Well, let’s say this new artist you signed (you) is a rap artist. In the interest of clear communication, let’s give your new artist a name; MC X Factor.


Right off the bat, we have TONS of rap artists with faithful followers on all their social media accounts.


But let’s drill down some more.


What kind of rap artist is MC X Factor, exactly?


Marketing Tweaks Lil' Wayne Album Cover

If money and connections were no object, what rap artist would you put MC X Factor on tour with because the headliner’s audience would relate to MC X Factor’s music?






Don’t look now but you are in the process of defining your artist’s audience.


Once you have determined exactly who they are, now you have to find where they hang out.


This is called targeting.


If MC X Factor would absolutely CRUSH it on tour with Lil’ Wayne because his fans would love your artist’s music, then start following people that follow Lil’ Wayne on Twitter and Instagram.


Marketing Tweaks Love Them First MEME


Love them first. (See how it’s always about them?)




Be the first to reach out, shake hands, and say “Hello”.


A decent percentage of these new people will follow you back and hang if you have interesting content.


Don’t try and slam your mix tape down their throats immediately after they follow you back because they will unfollow you.


You would hate that too, right?


Marketing Tweaks start a Conversation MEME

What if when they followed you back you asked a question about THEM? You already have common ground in that you both like in Lil’ Wayne. Start there.  Between current news, tracks he’s featured on, lyrics, artistry, etc. you have a truck load of content to start a conversation.




What if you focused on at least the first exchange being about THEM and not you? That will forge a solid first impression.


This is creating a relationship with someone new. This is getting you into growth.


Marketing Tweaks Stupid FB Posts



Y’all are perfectly happy bitching about politics and your personal lives on your social media platforms to people who don’t give a crap. I assure you this method is easier and far more effective because everyone is interested in talking about themselves.




It’s little steps. Baby steps.


But these little gains every day add up over time.


The bigger your social media grows and the more you engage with that audience, the more attractive you become to new potential fans and the industry.


Marketing Tweaks OWN the info MEMEThird, how about your live shows?


What are you doing to ensure that you OWN everyone’s contact info after they’ve experienced your live show?



You may have followers, but you DON’T OWN your social media contacts so that’s not enough!


I’m going to repeat that because it’s SO important. YOU DON’T OWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTACTS!


You could have 5 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter but you don’t own them, the respective platforms do and it will cost you to contact all of them.


Marketing Tweaks World In Your Hand


Social media and YouTube are amazing vehicles to target audiences and connect with them but you must take it a step further and convert them into a contact that you own.





Want to be a mogul? OWN THE INFORMATION.


Y’all already know about Facebook and how few people see your posts unless you pay.


Get a squeeze page and work around that problem.


For live shows get a text capture technology. It’s super inexpensive.


Marketing Tweaks Permission Marketing MEME


Permission Marketing is simply the idea that the lifetime value of a fan is worth exponentially more than the .99 cents or $10.99 you’re trying to shake them down for right now.



You’re supposed to be an entertainer of some sort. Entertain them on social media and get them to love you.


Find new people to entertain every day.


Then capture their info and deepen that relationship.


An artist with tens of thousands of engaged contacts is quite powerful to the industry, to brands, and to other artists.


Once you accept this as the one viable method to grow your brand and expose your artistry, you’ll become discoverable and be on your way to making a living.









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Why Do You Love Your Suffering So Much?

Suffering Feature MEME

Because your suffering is incredibly safe.

Suffering image 1




You like to be safe.


We’re all hard-wired that way, you know.




I’ll explain.


Survival Safe Means Survival Key MEME


Thousands of years ago the species that took unnecessary risks were obliterated. The crazy species didn’t survive but the species who could find the safest way of living survived long enough to have kids. The more kids they had the stronger the herd became.



Safe equaled survival.


Safe equaled healthy.


Get it? You’re wired up that way.


Now think about how incredibly lucky you are.

Suffering Crying Heart


It’s not 1654.


You’re not a serf.


You’re not a slave.


You’re relatively healthy.


You get to eat whenever you want.


You’re living a life of unprecedented freedom.


You are safe.


So why do you love to suffer when it comes to your art?


Suffering Safe Closet MEME



Because it’s safe.





The story you tell yourself is that nobody in this crappy industry wants to buy your kind of music or art from a person like you. You’re an outsider. Until they “let you in” you’re going to stand over her with the rest of the ignored artists and suffer.


It’s tribal too.


This way of thinking is tribal.


Can you see it now?


Suffering Starving Artist Tribal Mantra MEME

Sitting around at a coffee shop complaining to your friends about how hard it is to get a leg up in this business is what really makes you happy.


If this is what you do, the prior statement is TRUE.


When an artist sits around and says, “I don’t even know how to get started” or “I’m an artist and I have no idea how to get my art to the market” or “I can’t find any band members” it’s because they’re not really interested in being successful.


Suffering Do What You Love



That would require vulnerability. Vulnerability is change. Change equals threat. Threat equals fear.




Better to be safe.


This is who they are.


Is this who you are?


These artists love to rehearse the story about how they’re on their 10th musical project and nobody cares.

Suffering Story Be Honest MEME



They LOVE telling the story.




I’ll share a personal lesson. I dated this beautiful woman for about 2 years. She was a small-town girl, which I liked. She was a teacher and loved her job. She had 2 beautiful daughters (whom I love dearly) and a wonderful relationship with her ex-husband based entirely on being the best parents they could be. But she was an angry alcoholic.


For whatever reason, she was unhappy with herself and these demons would surface after the 4th drink or so.

Suffering Handcuffs Cari Story



To be fair, I like to drink too, but I’m not hostile.




I let this relationship go on way too long. Finally, I left after 6 major meltdowns in 1 short month; 3 of them involved her getting violent. This is an interesting and scary place to be for a man. No matter what, if things ever got out of hand, I would be the one going to jail.  Thankfully I left before that ever happened but I had to put a stop to it.


Suffering Torture

I sought help trying to connect the dots on this one.






Why the hell did I stay for so long? Especially when I knew she was angry and very jealous which doesn’t bode well in my business.


The story I was telling myself was that I was in love with her.


But how could I (or anyone else) truly be in love with someone who hurts them so deeply physically and emotionally?


The reality is this: I was in love with the idea of who I wanted her to be.


Suffering She Loved Being Miserable

The other reality was that she had absolutely no interest in becoming that person. She wanted to be who she was and she was unapologetic about it.


She was happy being miserable for some reason.





Once I learned that truth, I moved on emotionally and I improved.


In all actuality, your life is safe. You don’t worry about food, shelter, or water. You can have kids if you want, maybe you already have them.


Your hardwired desire to procreate is taken care of.


Don’t you think it’s time to take a risk?

Suffering Risk Time To Take a Risk MEME




Why play the game of the suffering artist?




Why fall in love with the idea of being a full-time artist but choose to suffer instead?


I get it, there is WONDERFUL protection in that but it’s a game, isn’t it?


Today is a day where you don’t have to ask anybody’s permission to make your art.
Suffering Risk Time To Take a Risk MEME



Music can be distributed to potential fans for free and without anyone else’s authorization.




Do you tell yourself, “I’m an artist, therefore I don’t want to know about marketing”?


Do you feel that marketing is gross or dirty?


Suffering Salesman They're Fake MEME

Does the idea of making your music and having to market it to leave a bad taste in your mouth?




Why is it that when artists think of marketing they think of slimy used car salesmen?


The same marketing tactics in the music industry that brought the world’s worst records and artists into your awareness also brought us the amazing music that changed our lives forever.


Suffering Best Selling Records Collage




You have your favorite records. You know, the ones that inspired you to become an artist in the first place. The ONLY reason you have them is because someone did a good job of making you aware of them.





I have news for you. If you’re one of those artists who’s suffering story includes lamenting about the old music business and how radio and record labels would break you, that’s an illusion as well.


Yes, record labels would develop artists but only if THEY liked you, but only if there wasn’t some other bigger potential artist to get behind. Hopefully, that dynamic didn’t happen after you were signed.

Suffering Bowling MEME



Oh, and you still had to be a salesperson.





Yes, radio tours are all about salesmanship. You find yourself bowling with the staff of a radio station and you don’t like bowling but you go because you want them to like you and spin your single.


Suffering Corporate MEMEYou’d have to sell the rest of the record company on the idea of YOU. One champion, even if they had signing power wasn’t enough to move a record label to perform for you. You need everyone on board. But that required selling. There are plenty of artists who were signed by the owner of the label but they’re sitting on a shelf because the staff doesn’t get it.



Media days lasted 12-14 hours where you’d be on the phone with every single printed fanzine on the planet answering the same stupid questions over and over and over and over again.


Oh, you had to be a salesman alright.


Why would that be “different” if you had to be a salesman with a label deal but intolerable as an indie artist?


Suffering the Voice Logo MEME

Why are so many artists refusing to do covers on YouTube for fear of being categorized as a “cover artist” but they’re perfectly willing to compete on American Idol (which is coming back) or The Voice?




Because NOT doing what is required to get your music out there means you get to continue suffering.


Suffering is safer than success.


Suffering Seth Godin


Seth Godin tells book writers, “Write your first book and email it in a nicely assembled PDF file to 100 people. If it’s good it’ll reach 10,000 people and you’ll have no problem selling your second book. If it sucks, you’ll know because nobody would have bought it anyway so It doesn’t matter.”


Seth also states that exactly zero people have taken him up on that offer.





You’re safe. Deep Down you know you’re safe.


Stop Suffering.


Suffering image 2


Start risking some bad feelings to find out how good you really are. If you really want to be an artist, you’ll learn to be better.


Who knows, maybe you could be good enough to make a decent living at it.


Your audience is out there.


Suffering You don't needs anyone's permission MEME



You can reach them for free.





But you enjoy the suffering better.


Suffering is an easy life to live but it’s not extraordinary.  Stories of success are inspiring and fulfilling.


Which one are you?










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Why You Need to Control Your Beautiful Destiny

Destiny Feature MEME

Destiny Pilot Boy MEMEWould you prefer to control your destiny or let someone you don’t know control it for you?



I’m going to tell you a story about an amazing artist with all the right elements, the right team, and a killer debut record but they never really made it in America because of poor marketing.


They did everything in their power (I believe) to do it right but outside forces impacted their destiny.


You have so much more control over your destiny today than before, but only if you realize it, take responsibility for it, and begin controlling it.


Destiny DNR


One of the most amazing artists to come out of the hair band era was The Dan Reed Network.


Right now, you’re like, “Who?” unless you’re European.




The Dan Reed Network was a fresh breath of air for the hair band era. They were a unique and interesting mix of Prince-meets-Bon Jovi-with-killer Steven Tyler-Falsetto-screams.  A hair band image and an 80’s rock appeal but funky with great songs.


Destiny DNR 2


They were diverse musically and ethnically within the band. All total, the group was descendant from these different ancestries, German, Hawaiian, Native American, African American, Japanese American, Jamaican, Italian American, and Jewish.



They were a Mercury records major label artist with big-time management, a hit producer, a (supposed) major label budget, and a killer record, but they never caught on in America and they’re from the Northwest, Portland area.


So, what happened?


Why didn’t this band fulfill their destiny?


Destiny USA Marketing Failure

A marketing fail is what happened and it wasn’t their fault.




There are a million stories like this out there.


Let’s dissect it so we can learn how YOU can avoid this situation.


First off, the band put out a self-released EP in 1986 which had a #1 on Portland’s Z-100 (their local) radio station.


Destiny DNR Breathless Album Cover




That’s how they got their label attention, by proving their value in advance of the deal.





Right there, they didn’t wait for the label to discover them. They made themselves discoverable and the labels called them.


They were crafting their own destiny.


Destiny Bill Graham


DRN formed a management relationship shortly after that with music promoter icon, Bill Graham. FYI, Bill Graham was instrumental in the careers of The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, and Janis Joplin to name a few.




Their #1 single on their local radio station garnered interest from Derek Shulman (Bon Jovi, Cinderella) at Polygram and they were signed to Mercury Records (a division of Polygram).Destiny Mercury Records Logo






In the winter of 1987, The Dan Reed Network released their debut record which was produced by Bruce Fairbairn (Bon Jovi, Aerosmith).


Destiny DNR Album Cover Debut



It’s an awesome record. I recommend listening to it.


Even if you don’t dig the style, it’s incredibly well done.





Everything is coming up roses for Dan Reed Network, right? Major label, killer producer, different sound, iconic manager, etc.


But here’s how the potholes developed.


Destiny Hysteria Album Cover




Mercury Records label mates, Def Leppard, FINALLY released Hysteria which was 3 years overdue in August of 1987; a few months prior to DNR debut effort.







Destiny Pyromania Album Cover



Hysteria was the follow up to the 10 million + selling Pyromania and the record label obviously had huge expectations on sales. (If we remember that records were grossing the equivalent of around $30/record back then we can surmise that the labels were getting around 50% of that or $15/record. So, they grossed at least $150 million [not including publishing revenue] on Pyromania).




But, Hysteria was plagued by delays and MASSIVELY over budget.


On December 31, 1984, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in an auto accident.


Destiny Rick Allen Wreck Image



The band was over the Mutt Lange tedious production process they endured on Pyromania and chose Jim Steinman (Steinman was famous for writing and credited for co-producing Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell) to produce Hysteria.





Destiny Bat Out of Hell




Steinman’s approach was to record a raw rock sound that was a definite departure from the polished pop metal sound of Pyromania. Once the band realized that, they sacked Steinman but still had to pay his $2-Million-Dollar production fee.





Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott was quoted as saying, “Todd Rundgren produced Bat Out of Hell Jim Steinman wrote it.”


They reenlisted Mutt Lange and got to work on the record after scrapping all the previously recorded material but they had to pay Mutt Lange too and this was going to take a while.


By the release date of Hysteria, Def Leppard had to sell 5 million copies to break even!


This made Mercury nervous. Understandably as the cash equivalent to 5 million records to the label would be around half of the take from Pyromania or $75 million dollars in today’s money.


The record immediately shot up the charts in England, but the momentum from Pyromania had faded in the USA and the new record was TANKING.


Polygram/Mercury understandably began freaking out.


Guess who didn’t get any attention?


The new bands that were signed to the label including Dan Reed Network.


Destiny Def Leppard Women

It was all-hands-on-deck at Mercury Records. Every available monetary and personnel resource was allotted to making Hysteria at least break even.


This dynamic dragged on and on through 3 American singles, “Women”, “Animal”, and “Hysteria”.




The record didn’t begin to sell in American until the fourth single was released, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”.


Destiny Abandoned MEMEThe first Dan Reed Network record suffered a painful, slow death because of abandonment.



The label couldn’t and wouldn’t afford to promote it correctly with all the hysteria from Hysteria.


Destiny Q-PrimeSomewhere along the line, the band apprehensively switched management companies to Q-Prime with Peter Mensch and Cliff Burnstein. Q-Prime ironically started with and were still managing Def Leppard (along with Metallica, Queensryche, AC/DC, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and some other huge acts).



DNR finally got on the road as an opener on the last American leg of Def Leppard’s Hysteria tour but it wasn’t until the 2nd album was released and they toured with the Rolling Stones in Europe that they blew up…over there.


Destiny DNR Slam Album Cover




Dan Reed Network is still out there doing it today, man, but they never caught on in America and it was largely due to the circumstances that revolved around the marketing of their debut record.





The bigger band with the bigger budget and the bigger fires to put out got all the attention at the big label while the promising baby bands with all the potential suffered.


Guess what?


That hasn’t changed.


Well, it has changed but it’s worse today.


Destiny Leverage MEMEWhy would you want to be signed before you crafted some leverage to apply to the deal?



Especially considering you have the power to construct this leverage today and create your destiny?


Here’s what HAS changed.


Destiny Target MEME

YOU can do what the Dan Reed Network couldn’t do, define, target, connect, and capture the contact information for YOUR audience.





You can grow your audience. It’s not difficult like brain surgery, but it does require work and understanding.


Do you want a record deal?


Destiny Brat Boy MEMEBring them an audience and you’ll get what you want.


Do you want a manager?


Bring them an audience (i.e. something to manage) and you’ll get what you want.


Do you want a booking agent?


Bring them an audience and you’ll get what you want.


YOU must do the work and it’s never been easier to reach people, but it does require work.


Every show you fail to collect contact data is a wasted opportunity.

Every day that you don’t expand your social media to reach new people is a wasted day.


The new music business is all about artists with audiences.


Destiny Audience MEME



Let me be clear, YES, I’m generalizing, but you are NOT going to get signed on your talent alone and frankly, you don’t really want to be.




You don’t want to be the exception to the rule.


When you come into a record deal with a decent audience and some cash flow in your business you have power.


Destiny Power



Power bands like Dan Reed Network didn’t have because they didn’t know who their audience was and couldn’t reach them outside of radio.




But you can.


You might just get signed on your talent, but the Def Leppards of the world will ensure that you are ignored.

The bigger your audience, the more power you have.


How’s that for a goal?


Listen, this works.


Destiny Daredevil LogoI’ve grown Daredevil Production the same way. I find the audience first. It’s so easy (and FUN) to make relationships with important managers, producers, label executives, booking agents, etc. by bringing them business as opposed to asking for a favor.


That’s leverage.


Why wouldn’t you want to do that too?


Why wouldn’t you want to be in charge of your destiny?










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You Suffer, Your Career is Stagnant, This Is The Cure

Cure Feature MEME Green

I have the cure for the anxiety and pain you’re feeling Cure Predictionright now in your career.


It’s a prediction of sorts. More like a clear vision of what tomorrow will look like for artists who wish to get a record deal and I’ll bring facts to support my argument.



That means this premonition isn’t so magical as it is observational


Cure Medicine Not Going To Taste Good




It’s not going to taste good.





Follow me on this, artists, it’s important. Or don’t at your own peril.


The very first recorded Olympics were held in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece.


Cure 776 BC Olympics



That means we have been timing people running (yes running was one of the first Olympic events) for at least 2,793 years.





Two thousand seven hundred and ninety-three years, that’s a long time.


For 2,729 years, no human had ever run a sub-4-minute mile.


For almost 3,000 years no human had ever run a mile in under 4 minutes until May 6th, 1954 when Roger Bannister did it in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. (He’s now Sir Roger Bannister).


Cure Sir Roger Bannister


What an incredible feat, right?


A miracle that took thousands of years to conquer!


A fluke maybe!



Maybe he was lucky like winning the lottery.


Surely it would be another thousand years, or hundred years, or at least a handful of decades before anyone else could ever do that again!


Running a mile in less than 4 minutes was so difficult it took 2,730 years for it to happen the first time. But Roger Bannister’s record was broken 46 days later by his rival, John Landy, on June 21 in Finland.


Cure Roger Bannister John Landy




Then 47 days after that, both men racing against each other, would each break the sub-4-minute mile again! (Bannister won that race but didn’t beat Landy’s solo time. Still, Bannister was the first.)





Within 3 years 16 runners had broken the sub-4-minute-mile.


What the hell happened and how does this apply to your artist career?


Bannister broke the mental myth is what happened.


Cure CuppingRoger Bannister proved it was possible and provided a cure for an “ailment” that was considered incurable.


FYI, the most intelligent physicians agreed, prior to May 6th, 1954, that running the mile in less than 4 minutes would be too dangerous and cause health risks. (Do you see how society conforms with certain myths?)


Once Roger did it, then everybody knew it was achievable, and now it’s a regular occurrence.


Here’s how it applies to you, and you’d better freakin’ pay attention.


Cure Your Ailment Myth MEMEYour “ailment”, your “myth” is that indie artists feel it’s too difficult to become successful these days and/or they need a label to do it.




The music business society agrees with that myth because the old way isn’t working and the business is looking for their own cure.


Granger Smith (aka Earl Dibbles, Jr.) build a $1.8-million-dollar indie artist empire from his laptop. Granger is a country artist and Earl Dibbles Jr. is an alter ego.


Cure Earl Dibbles Jr



He created this empire via “content marketing” on social media and YouTube.





Smith defined his audience, targeted them, and then reached out with content that was relevant and personal to THEM.


In the case of Earl Dibbles Jr., the content manifested itself as a humorous set of videos and sayings that were so funny and personal to the South, many people shared them which made him extremely popular.


As far back as 3 years ago, record labels were scrambling to sign Granger.


Cure Deep In His Pockets



But the team surrounding Smith always said ‘NO” because there was no need, at that time, to let a label put their hands that deep into his pockets.






For those of you still trying to do the math, $1.8-million-dollars per year breaks down to $150,000 per month gross.


That’s a business.


That’s what labels want, small businesses with viable audiences where they can implement their infrastructure for the purposes of blowing the brand up bigger.


Cure Lazy Cat MEME


You see the labels are suffering too. Their immediate cure is YOU creating an actual business with cash flow. But most of you still want to sell them the idea of you, the potential of you. Most of you do this because YOU don’t want to do the work…but I digress.




Well, that’s the way it used to happen 15 years ago. (ahem…wake up and smell your career burning after 15 years already).


Here’s the thing, Granger Smith is the messiah for indie artists. He’s your Roger Bannister.


What I’m going to say next is an OPINION, to be clear, on how something happened but my opinion doesn’t change the fact that the outcome ACTUALLY HAPPENED, so pay close attention.


Cure Backroad Song Image




Smith wasn’t going to get a #1 unless he signed with a label (fact). So, at some point, he and his team chose a label and signed. I’m sure they got a pretty sweet deal simply from the fact that they said “No” so many times before.





You always get a better deal when you don’t need them and they really need you. That’s just simple supply and demand economics, people.


Smith became a trophy of sorts on Music Row here in Nashville.


Cure Performance Clause MEME


If I was Smith, I would’ve put a performance clause in the contract. Something that states the label has X amount of time to deliver a #1 single (or whatever he thought he could negotiate like a top 10, top 40 etc.) or the contract is null and void. If the label failed, he would be able to cross the street and try it with another label, owing nothing to the first.



Nobody can tell Granger that he isn’t marketable, get it?


Let’s think this through, now.


The fact is that Smith’s first single, “Backroad Song” went #1.


Cure Resources MEME Time Energy Cash


It’s also true that a #1 single requires an incredible amount of bandwidth and resources from any record label. These resources include time, energy, belief, relationships, and cash.




If you’re a student of the game you know that the record business in the hey-day was around $75-Billion-dollars a year and now it’s shrunk to just $15-Billion-dollar per year.


Cure Bar Graph MEME


Knowing that all labels are (must be) running essentially skeleton crews these days with limited capital, the most promising artists get all the resources, right? (FYI, this was true even when labels were making money, but it’s been exacerbated by the shrinking sales).




Not potentially promising (because the art is good), but bottom line promising (meaning cash flow). These are 2 different things and you’d better understand the difference.


Granger Smith is the music industry version of Roger Bannister to the extent that he proved to all indie artists it can be done.  There are no more excuses now.


I promise you that when he signed with Wheelhouse Records, there were some artists on that label who may have been more talented than Smith, but had to wait.


Cure Waiting for Smith Project




They’re probably still waiting.





They had to wait until the Smith project panned out before they were going to get access to the label’s resources they would need to break in the marketplace.


See where I’m going with this?


Cure Cigar MEME YESIf you’re an artist with a ton of talent, but no audience, my biggest fear for you is what if the label says “YES”?



A record deal can be a blessing or a curse. It’s up to you stack the deck enough to control the outcome.


Cure Cards Stack The Deck MEME



Too many of you have read this article but haven’t heard a thing I’m saying. Too many of you are thinking, Ha! If I get my deal, I’ll be home free!




You’re wrong.


It’s been done now.


I promise there are other artists that are fashioning their approach to marketing in a similar way as Granger Smith.


And NO! Not by creating funny characters, but by creating compelling content that is relevant and personal to their audiences. (That content can take many forms).


These respective audiences are anticipating every email, video, and social media post from the artists they’re connected to because they resonate with the content.


Cure Waiting MEME



These new-age artists have adapted and are building their empires while you’re waiting for your deal.




You either get it and adapt, or you don’t and you’re a Luddite.  Forever waiting.


They’re going to come into their label deals with big hammers at their respective negotiating tables and ensure that, at least for a little while, all the money, energy, and attention of your current or future label will go to them.


You’ll wait.


And wait.


If you even ever get a deal that is.Cure Invisible



Or you’ll wait to get out of your deal because the label love disappeared with that new artist’s cash flow.


And you’ll pay dearly for that in time and money.


By the way, my company, Daredevil Production, is growing rapidly with a business model that is based on this very concept; turning indie artists into sexy little businesses.


Cure Daredevil Logo


But, Daredevil isn’t the only company that’s figured this out, therefore you’re not just competing against artists.


Indie artists better get on board with the program and they better do it fast.






Getting a deal is no longer a viable alternative to creating your own audience.


Your talent and potential likeability won’t matter to a label who just signed an artist with a rabid audience and healthy cash flow.


Your potential talent won’t factor in whether you’re signed to that label or not.


A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.”

Cure A Bird In the Hand


You must figure out how to create your own audience.


You create the audience, the labels come to you, they give you everything they have and all your anxiety is magically cured.


Contact capture is necessary. After you define who the audience is you go find them, make a relationship via social media or live shows, and get the digits.


These direct-to-fan relationships are the cure for the common indie artist cold.


Effective social media is mission-critical for this task.


It’s up to you, artists, do you want to be the one bird in the hand, or do you want to hang with the crowd in the bush?










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