Bob Ezrin Suck it 2

I was reading a Bob Lefsetz post about a letter written to him from famed producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd). READ THIS LETTER right now, it’s quick. In this letter Bob was nostalgic of the old music business and basically excoriating most of the new artists. While I can completely see Bob Ezrin’s point, I categorically disagree that the good music is gone for good.

Great, meaningful music is not gone for good, it’s just dormant.Bob Ezrin Cyclical

At least it is in the mainstream marketplace at the moment.

The integrity of music is cyclical like everything else.

We are in the middle of a rebirth.



Bob Ezrin Pink Floyd The Wall


It’s never been a better time for artists worldwide.


Artists have NEVER experienced such few roadblocks standing between their work and an audience.



At least not from outside forces anyway, artists still excel at creating their own roadblocks.




Every artist has all the power, access, and affordable tools necessary to make their masterpiece and market it to the world.

So why aren’t we?Bob Ezrin Tools

Why are major players like Bob Ezrin so jaded about the new music business?

Because it’s not like the old music business.

It’s changed and everybody hates change.

Let’s look at the old industry for a second, shall we?

In the old music industry making records was quite expensive. A professional project required an artist to:

  • Pay for major recording studio access (lockout fees $1,500-$2,500 per day)
  • Pay for outboard gear not onboard the recording console ($500-$2500 day)
  • Pay for an experienced engineer ($120/hour in 2015 dollars)
  • Pay for a producer ($25k/song + 5 points)
  • Pay for 10-20 reels of 2” tape ($3,000 – $6,000 depending on the project)
  • Pay for 10 (ish) reels of ½” tape to record stereo mixes ($1,500)
  • Pay for mastering which would run $600 – $1,200 per song



Bob Ezrin Engineer


It becomes really easy to rack up $200,000 or more even on a project with a good band that can be recorded and mixed in a couple weeks ala Van Halen or The Black Crowes let alone a “tinkering artist” who needs time to create the masterpiece.





Then there’s the marketing costs…

  • $250k – $500k per song for radio promo (payola never died folks, it just got renamed and restructured to legally protect the broadcast licenses and cash flow, you know, like a side-street-shell-game)Bob Ezrin Payola
  • Tour support – The bus, bus drivers, roadies, gas, hotels, airfare, meals, and booze costs a boatload.
  • Radio Tour – Again, gas, hotels, airfare, meals, etc.


Then there was legal fees, manufacturing fees, and shipping costs for distribution, etc.


So the old music business required $1.5 million – $2.5 million dollars to create, manufacture, distribute, and promote the first record on a major label.



Bob Ezrin Euros


Even an independent label with 20% of the major label budget meant exorbitant cash requirements that were far too great for any unsigned artists to afford alone.

So serious capital was required to take the risk of developing an artist that had a 90% chance of failure in the major label system during the “hey day” of the old music business.



Taking risks means there was a carefully guarded selection process loaded with many filters (AKA roadblocks).

It used to be hard to get in the door for a reason.

Let’s go back farther and look at the beginning of the cycle.Bob Ezrin Atlantic Records


Back in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s the major labels were independents created by visionaries which is fancy talk for diehard musicians and music aficionados that had a business sense and some discretionary cash flow.


These visionaries made relationships with artists and other business people to foster the creation of compelling art, market it, and ultimately profit from it.

Bob Ezrin A&M

It all started with passion.

Passion from the artists and the visionaries.



The Ahmet Erteguns, Herb Alperts, and Mo Ostins had passion for art and a wicked good business acumen.Bob Ezrin Reprise Records



For what it’s worth to all you frustrated indie artists, these great music men were not devoid of mistakes with their marketing. Ahmet Ertegun’s first 22 singles were bombs so you really should stop lamenting the first couple marketing speed bumps that make you feel like a failure and start concentrating on the future wins.



Bob Ezrin Sometime You Win SMALL

There is no failure, you either win or you learn.


Just sayin’.



Then, after their company success morphed them into brand names that were associated with important, captivating music and significant artist brand names, they were purchased by big, publicly traded companies.

Publicly traded companies have to make a profit. They live by the quarterly report which means numbers become the focus instead of music.


It’s a natural progression really.Bob Ezrin No Music


It’s understandable.

For decades we have promoted music via terrestrial radio. It makes sense that people think terrestrial radio is about music because that’s where we were all exposed to our favorite artists growing up, right?


Sadly, terrestrial radio doesn’t care about the music either. Hell, it used to showcase dramatic and comedic programs in the 40’s, then TV was invented and the new medium stole the content so music was the next plausible programming solution.

Bob Ezrin Radio


Terrestrial radio cares about selling ads. They are ad salesmen, plain and simple.


So when you combine a publicly traded company that lives & dies by the numbers on a quarterly report with a group of ad salesmen, nobody cares about the music anymore.



When nobody cares about the music, the music becomes sterile; it becomes an afterthought. The music doesn’t mean anything to anyone in a position of power other than product data or sales quotas.


What matters is can it be promoted?Bob Ezrin The Truth About Milk

To promote it you need to make the ad salesmen happy.


The best way to make the ad salesmen happy is to ensure it sounds and looks like what is already being successfully promoted because, today, that’s selling their ads.

Get it?

It’s clear what happened to the music and why.


This is how we “lost us” as Bob Ezrin so eloquently put it.


He’s right, ya know.

Bob Ezrin I'm Not Cynical


Bob was right on time with his analysis but it is definitely from a mainstream perspective. It’s not necessarily accurate, even beyond Ezrin’s disclaimer regarding the inevitable “exceptions to the rule”. In my humble opinion, it’s also a bit cynical and short sighted.


But I get it, I understand his frustration.




You see, there is a perfect storm of sorts going on right now in the music business.

Everyone can afford a recording studio when they couldn’t 25 years ago.Bob Ezrin Monkey

That means everyone can make records. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, but everyone can make records nonetheless.

And record they do. Rather, they completely manufacture performances because they can. In this instance we have the “artists” contributing to the degradation of the art.


This is due to a DIY environment bereft of mentors and any record making experience (don’t be naïve, recording music and making records are 2 completely different processes), mixed with the natural human nature to follow the path of least resistance.


Bob Ezrin Batman



Back in the day you had to keep singing or playing until you nailed the performance, no fixes. There was a mentor/elder you respected there to tell you, “Do it again”. Now, we’re all alone and in a hurry to just get it done because we want to bask in our own glory and awesome artistry.


Or worse, we want to get the product out ASAFP.

It’s also about 15 minutes of fame instead of real connecting for so many of today’s misguided artists.


In 1968, Andy Warhol correctly predicted, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”.Bob Ezrin Andy Warhol


I am predicting that in the future, 15 minutes of fame will become easy and therefore sterile like the music of today.

This need for fame will become blasé and boring.


Artists will begin to be noticed for excellence in their artistic works and performances.


This will create followers who strive to be excellent for the purposes of being noticed (they’re all still artists right?)

Audiences will respond to artists who are different and meaningful as long as they’re properly exposed to them.

Bob Ezrin Music = Lif


I submit to you the real artists, the important artists, they’re out there, man.

There are tons of artists that are making music with meaning, Bob Ezrin. There are artists that are fighting for their freedom, from oppression, from abuse, from fear, from their past, from society, from the rat-race, and from this business.

You just haven’t heard about them yet because the marketing machine is broken, or getting an overhaul at the very least.



You will.


You see the more crap that goes up on the world’s refrigerator, the more mundane and homogenized everything sounds.Bob Ezrin Fridge Magnets


The more mundane and homogenized the music sounds, the more the important artists stick out like a sore thumb with even a modicum of marketing expertise.

Consumers do respond to real performances, and real artists even if they can’t articulate why.


That will never change.


These important artists have more access than ever before to make, manufacture, and promote their art.

Bob Ezrin Rebirth


They have an incredible amount of direct access to an easily targeted marketplace and it’s inexpensive to reach.


Like I said, it’s a rebirth.




With all this accessibility, the storytellers get to define their tribe, connect, and tell their story free from corporate intervention.



That means free from sterility as long as the artists want it that way.Bob Ezrin Story Tellers

The real artists get to emote their truth and the market will respond just like it always has because the market can and will relate to the real artists; “He’s singing about me. She’s telling my story.”

It’s back to being about the music Bob Ezrin.

Because we can.

It’s time for the artists to learn that they need to define and connect with their audience to bring their work to the world.

Bob Ezrin Learn To Live Meme


Artists need to learn to market these great works and prove Bob Ezrin wrong.


He may be a genius but He’s also old and crusty so don’t pay any attention to him.





Keep working y’all.


10 years from now the music will be better.


I promise.







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Song Not Enough

Good Songs are not enough.

I received a tremendous response to my last article entitled “Your Biggest Mistake Ever” (thank you). It seems everyone is starting to catch on to the importance of marketing. Songwriters (hopefully) have great songs but struggle with getting attention and getting them monetized and I want to thank those of you who asked me to write about some strategies on how to advance a songwriting career using marketing techniques.

Songs Cartoon Man

How does one influence the buying decision of someone looking for songs to cut?


The answer is presentation and relationships.


I have some ideas.


Songs B2b B2CRight off the bat, if you aspire to be a songwriter and not an artist then your business model is B2B not B2C. Meaning you want to sell your songs to people who will make recordings that generate revenue as opposed to creating the actual recording that will generate revenue.

Get it?

B2B = Business to Business.

B2C = Business to Consumer.



Trust me when I tell you that your game plan has to be ALL about relationships. The more relationships you have, the more opportunities you create for yourself. Songs Bonds


Relationships in the entertainment industry are everything and songwriting is no different.


Songs 2 Turtle Doves


You need relationships with other songwriters and up and coming artists. These relationships will naturally lead to connections with producers, A&R execs, publishers, song pluggers etc.



Songs Network Computer Key


Did you ever notice that when Adam Sandler makes a movie it’s always got the same cast? Those people are his friends.Songs Sandler




Songs NigelDid you ever notice that whenever Christopher Guest makes a movie (“This is Spinal Tap”, “Waiting for Guffman”, “Best in Show”) the cast is almost exactly the same? Those people are his friends.


Could Sandler and Guest find superior talent with other actors and comedians in their industry?  Sure, they’re big stars, their movies make money, and they can get anyone they want.

I happen to love their casting choices, but there is always someone more talented or someone with bigger and better marquis value, right?

Why stick with the same old, same old when you can get this year’s “Johnny Hot Sausage”?

They make business decisions to write and cast their movies based on relationships first.


Is it surprising that Ashley Monroe is singing a duet with Blake Shelton when you find out she is friends with Miranda Lambert?Songs Ashley Monroe

Is it surprising that Ashley Monroe co-wrote a couple Miranda Lambert songs like “Me and Your Cigarettes” and “Heart Like Mine”?


Did you know that Cole Swindell was frat buddies with Luke Bryan?

Is it surprising that Cole Swindell co-wrote a ton of Luke Bryan hits?


Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

Good, so we’ve established that while you certainly need great songs, success as a songwriter requires relationships.

Great songs are simply not enough.

Songs How picOk, so HOW do you create relationships?


My first (and very obvious) thought is a Sam Kinison’s advice to end world hunger, tell the hungry to “GO WHERE THE FOOD IS!”


Move to where there are a ton of songwriters. The more songwriters and artists, the more opportunities, right? It’s a numbers game so stopSongs 1940 crowds having your dream build up and get crushed on 1 opportunity.


You will require many.


If you can’t move to an artist-centric city like Nashville, New York, or Los Angeles then you can certainly visit from time to time and make it worth your while; have a strategy for targeting and creating relationships.


Songs LocationI know, I know, that’s not possible for all of you to physically move. Let’s explore some other ideas.


Let’s tackle the big question, what if another songwriter, publisher, producer, or artist says “YES”?



Do you have a solid professional representation of your songs that demonstrates your talent or will you be presenting your product with excuses and disclaimers about the quality of songwriting and/or recording?Songs No Throwing Garbage

Disclaimers suck.


Songs Cars Covered in IvyThink about the concept of disclaimers in a different light. Let’s say you go to purchase a car and you ask the person selling the car if it works. They tell you the car looks great but it needs a new engine, tires, A/C, and transmission because they never took care of it and they had a bunch of REALLY GOOD reasons why they couldn’t afford the time and/or money to do it.


Would you buy the car?

Would you care about the reasons why it didn’t work or would you simply focus on the fact that the damn car doesn’t run?

Nope. This is business, man, that car needs to get you reliably from point A to point B.

You don’t have time for nonsense when it comes to your car, do you?

Disclaimers about your product, i.e. the song or the recording, are UNPROFESSIONAL.

Professionals don’t have time for nonsense from non-professionals.

Make sure you have at least a couple competitive recordings of your very best songs so you can start a possible relationship off proudly, without a disclaimer.Songs Better


Get down to business with your presentation. Consumers want to be wooed and transported to your artistic world, business people need to hear what you wrote immediately so they can make decisions.


Remember, you’re selling the lyric, melody, and vibe of the song NOT the recording. In short, have a demo edit just for B2B presentations, no fat, just meat; similar to a movie director’s artistic cut vs. the distributed version of the film.

Once you have the tools you need to begin a professional relationship, I would focus on how to create a symbiotic relationship.

Symbiotic means both parties add value to the relationship.

One sided relationships never last, ever, think about it.


One sided professional relationships are impossible to start when it’s obvious that they are one sided. (The ONLY time one sided relationships have a chance is when they are a valued relationship for other reasons, but I digress)



In plain English, the big hit songwriters are not going to be beneficial to you immediately so I wouldn’t waste time and energy treating them like a “make or break” priority in your career.


Songs Ying Yank

This strategy will only render negative results which creates frustration and will leave you second-guessing yourself.


Find relationships within your “class” or “generation”. In this metaphor “class” and “generation” have nothing to do with age and everything to do with a measurable spot on an artistic journey.


Find your beehive.


Songs Beehive in a Tree

Don’t ignore or lament your place on the artistic journey, honor it.

It’ll make you better.

It’ll make you honest.

It’ll make you work.Songs Work For It


It’ll make for better songs.


If you’re really writing hit songs, believe me, you will attract attention from the appropriate people.

If you are somewhere on your way to writing hit songs, believe me, you will attract the appropriate people.


Songs Sandbox


Focus on finding songwriters who are willing to play in the sandbox with you, first; expand from there. This strategy will render immediate results that will add fuel to your fire rather than snuff it out.

Start targeting songwriters for co-writes.



If you’re in a big city, find out where the songwriters hang out and go there.


Participate in writer’s nights, open mic nights, go to artist shows, etc.


I would also be looking to target songwriters online.  There are HUNDREDS of songwriter communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

The best way to create any relationship is to do something for them rather than asking them to do something for you.Songs Pepper Chef


What could you do for a songwriter you would like to work with? What are you good at? There is literally no better relationship builder than one person doing something for another person expecting nothing in return.


Expect nothing in return.


Songs GiftTime is something we all have and it’s the best gift anyone could give. How could you offer up your time to benefit someone you would like to create a relationship with?

Daredevil Production creates regular, long lasting relationships with all the interns we work with.  They offer their valuable time in exchange for knowledge and a course credit.

This means the world to me. I NEED it.

Get it?


What do other songwriters need?

Everyone needs gas money, grocery money, musical equipment, gift cards, etc.Songs Good At

What if you went online to a songwriting community and offered up a simple contest? For instance, if you are a lyricist you would post up your best lyric and offer a $25 gift card to songwriter who can write the best melody to it.




Get weird.


That’s a nice little artistic challenge with a possible immediate payoff.

You just created a relationship with a writer who possesses a clear talent to complete your artistic circle and it only cost you $25.


Maybe a songwriter needs a service or skill outside of the music business that you can offer up.

Maybe they need web design, logo design, construction work, legal help, accounting advice, automotive maintenance, recording time in your home studio, etc.


What do you have that is of value?


Quit focusing on one song. This will limit your responses and become disappointing. Maybe your one song is a smash hit song but it isn’t trending right now.Songs Attention

For instance, in the 90’s ballads were huge, ballads were trending. Now they are not in style. So if you’re emotionally pinning your hopes and dreams to a ballad in today’s market you’re going to get a ton of rejection.

Nobody is buying ballads today, regardless of the quality, like nobody is buying hamburgers for their vegan restaurants.



Quit focusing on getting ROI on 1 song or a limited amount of songs. If you require instant return on your investment to believe the journey is worth it, professional songwriting and the entertainment industry is not your bag, baby.

Songs Austin Powers




The more you write, the better you get, the more relationships you create and/or deepen.

The more you write the more product you have to monetize when you do get a big break with your first cut and/or single.



The more you write the bigger your body of work becomes which makes you look more professional.


Songs Twisted NailThink about it this way, if you were buying a house would you trust the carpenter who’s built 100 houses or the new guy who has big dreams and no reputation?



One final way I can think of (at the moment) is to do some business.

  • Organizations like NSAI are a great place to run into other songwriters.Songs SWAMB
  • PAY for mentorships with hit songwriters. You will learn, you will improve, and you will develop relationships, you write better songs.
  • Songwriter Conferences like
    • are FANTASTIC events to meet other writers, industry pros, network, and get great feedback/advice on how to navigate the songwriting business.
    • Tin Pan Alley
    • Here’s a Music Connection guide to songwriter conferences.








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Mistake Do Over image


Your biggest mistake ever, ready?


Y’all are making it. Constantly.

It’s marketing.

Mistake Peanuts Budget


You’re either not even thinking of marketing your music (so there is no budget), you’re convinced marketing is too expensive (categorically UNTRUE), you’re waiting till your project is finished to market it (huh?), or you’re completely unaware of any effective strategies you can use to influence the buying decisions of a music consumer.


Most of you are using social media for the digital equivalent of panhandling or door-to-door sales.



Every day I get 10 Tweets or DM’s saying “Check out my new single” or “Discover us on iTunes”, etc.


TURNOFF!!Mistake door to door salesman


Why don’t you knock on my door and try selling me dictionaries or something?




Social media is really for making relationships and driving traffic.  MAYBE a little selling, like the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” strategy that Gary Vaynerchuk wrote about, but most of you naively have this all wrong.

Mistake Jab






Mistake Poop



Most of you are using non-existent or downright crappy marketing strategies.


Name one song in your music career that you PAID to discover.

Mistake Discover Music


Truth is you heard the song on the radio, in a movie, commercial, viral YouTube video, TV show, or you heard about it from a friend

All of these exposure avenues are free.

Why would you think that anyone would want to pay to discover your music when you certainly haven’t; not even for your favorite bands?


Yes, once again, digital distribution (iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, CD Baby, etc) is where a consumer goes to buy your music, marketing is WHY a consumer will buy it.


Marketing is the influencing of buying decisions.


How exactly and what exactly are you doing to influence people to buy your music?

These days it takes more than “good music” to influence a consumer buying decision.

Mistake Fireworks




They want to be excited, so you’ve got to make them get genuinely excited, you want them to feel the fireworks inside.

They’ve got to feel like they’re a part of something. A movement, a tribe, if you will.



Live shows are probably the most effective way to do this, assuming you have a good live show.


Put the band on tour opening for so-and-so and watch the fan base start building.Mistake Live Show Image2


In L.A. I used to put a bill together of 5 bands to ensure a killer draw for the club.  A packed house creates excitement.


Consumers will have to be “open” to receiving the information. In other words, they don’t want to feel like they’re being “sold”’.



If they feel like they’re being sold, they will shut down and ignore your requests and most of them will be polite about it.


Panhandling doesn’t work.Mistake Panhandling


Digital “door knocking” doesn’t work.


So what creates excitement?



Social Proof certainly helps. Pictures and videos of you playing to packed houses (even if an advantageous camera angle Mistake Social Proofcreates an illusion making the gig look like it’s sold out), recording in the studio, demonstrating your talent on YouTube, showing up in in an online magazine between 2 major label artists, etc., these things will never hurt your reputation.




I’ll give you an example. Most of you have downloaded my free Twitter book by now. Just posting 3 tweets a day with a 3D image of the bookMistake Twitter usually got me around 3 downloads per day. Then I took screen shot of a few people who were publically praising me on Twitter or FB for seriously expanding their Twitter following.


THAT was social proof!


Mistake Wade Sutton 10K TwitterNow we get about 8-15 downloads per day because I got consumers excited about it.


You’re concept of marketing and how to effectively execute it is most certainly skewed when it comes to your music.


Don’t feel bad, the industry is just as lost as you.


Mistake Lost2

It will take years for them to effectively address this mistake and statistically it won’t be corrected by a major label, rather a small company that makes a lot of noise focusing on this specific issue and gets purchased by a major label.


Here’s an assessment of the real damage though, you continue to experience marketing with techniques that are now archaic and ineffective.


As long as you keep seeing and experiencing the old ineffective marketing methodologies (especially with bands that you already know about) as a consumer, the more you are encouraged to apply these techniques to your own musical efforts.


It makes sense because it’s the only input you really receive, right?


It seems like it’s working too, right?




I’ve mentioned before, the bestselling country record 10 years ago sold 11 million copies. The bestselling country record for 2014 barely cracked 1 million. YIKES!

This change in the marketing paradigm has drastically affected the music industry’s brightest and best.



Mistake headacheThe more you apply these unsuccessful techniques, the more confused and frustrated you become.


Think of it like this, if the only language input you receive is Spanish, then you will speak Spanish until such a time that you change the input to include other languages. Conversely, if you only receive English input you cannot read the script in this picture.


Get it?Mistake Input Spanish







All the industry big wigs whose names you know will just continue to utilize the methods that have proven successful to them until the well runs dry, which will be awhile, but it’s definitely draining.

Mistake Industry Big Wigs


I have seen this many times during a paradigm shift in several industries.

The big players who are plugged in (and usually in the sunset of their careers) won’t change and don’t change tactics.

Why should they?




Big publicly traded corporations (like the biggest buggy whip company) can’t have visionaries that go back to the board members and tell them the business model they purchased all their shares of stock on has to change (so they should start building cars).  They live by the quarter not for the long run.


Therefore they won’t change, not that drastically, because that kind of change requires a lot of forward thinking with no quarterly accountability.


Are you picking up what I’m putting down?Mistake Sinking ship

It’s like the ship is sinking but they won’t go down with it, so they don’t care.


They don’t have to, they’re going to be fine.

But what about you?


Once you realize this you will embrace all that is required to LEARN how to market yourself.

Mistake Headache Remedy



Once you embrace marketing (like you embrace writing and recording your music) you will see significant changes.





The remedy to your biggest mistake ever lies within your ability to recognize that you suffer from a lack of modern data.


Time to make a serious change.


What will you do to change the input you are receiving and educate yourself on marketing your music?

Mistake Dream is Free Hustle





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I was watching the “I Heart Radio Awards” while grilling out back with my girlfriend, Cari, when I caught Justin Timberlake’s acceptance speech for this year’s Innovator Award. The always humble JT ended with two amazing quotes.Foolish JT Award

The first was a Steve Jobs quote from a Stanford commencement speech that said “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”


Are you truly hungry?

Foolish Mouse Trap


More importantly, are you still foolish?


Like, REALLY foolish?

Forget about what anyone thinks about you. Foolish What People Think


I have seen far too many very talented people fall short of their dreams simply because they put way too much stock in what other people might think.


In short, they’re afraid.

Foolish Eleanor Roosevelt Quote

Fear of what other people think is a great excuse to hang it up, or refuse to try.


I always had a viewpoint on what other people think, “F**K those guys”.


It’s a mantra for me.



I know I’m going to get hateful responses for cussing in my blog, but I don’t care…clearly.


I hear criticism often. From people who are jealous, from people who are angry, from people who are clueless, from people who are nostalgic Foolish Nick Cage Quote(about the way it used to be) and hate change, from people who are threatened, from people who wish success was easy so they wouldn’t have to work and have faith in themselves.




Most people hate change.

Most people hate the people behind the change more than they hate change.

Foolish Feature 12


Most people don’t recognize the go-getters for the innovators that they are, they only feel regret and deep rooted anger because they don’t have the constitution to be one of the innovators.

It’s funny, they hate being scared, but they’re scared to fail so they don’t try.

Foolish Vicious Cycle

The result is they just hate.


Vicious cycle.



Listen, music can still be sold.

People want to buy music.

Foolish Power of music

Nothing has changed in our society about how we respond to music.

Music is the soundtrack to our lives. We remember what we were doing, who we were with, and what that moment meant from a single chord in a single recording; it’s literally etched into our mind.



I can think of nothing more powerful than that.

The great Glen Campbell has lost all memory from Alzheimer’s disease. He forgot everyone, family, friends, his daughter…the LAST thing he Foolish Glen Campbellforgot was the music and how to play guitar.


That’s what I call power.


I know the EXACT song that was playing the first time I got to 3rd base.

I know the EXACT song that was playing right before my first bad car accident in Rockford, IL.

Y’all got “your song” with your significant other.


file0001125655926It’s the one that makes you smile when you hear it.

It makes you giggle.

It makes you miss someone.

It makes you grateful.

It makes you horny.



It makes you feel loved.

It makes you feel heartbroken because you were loved.Foolish No Music No Life

This is what music is.

It transcends all languages because it’s a direct line into the emotions.

I have seen 1 song, heard for the first time, make a Wall Street multi-millionaire investor break down to tears in front of strangers.


That’s power, man. That’s beautiful. That’s music.

Foolish Music Heals


Forget about me harping on y’all to be better business people for a second, let’s just focus on the power of it all.


If you feel you got something to say, if you feel that you can change people’s lives, if you feel like you have the power as an artist to move someone, then you OWE it to them and to yourself to market it correctly.

Your music needs to be HEARD.


It’s called communication. Communication isn’t just the message, it’s how you serve it up. Communication is NOT your intent but what is actually being received.Foolish How You Say it

It’s not enough that the song is a good song, or a hit song, you have to get consumers to a mental place where they are willing to receive the song.

If they’re not receiving your music, and your music is well done, you aren’t communicating.

That is frustrating, I don’t care who you are.


Foolish How You Say It image


Anyone who is frustrated selling their music isn’t marketing correctly. Period.

It’s the same as if you were an entrepreneur who is trying to sell hamburgers in a vegan community and you just can’t figure out why nobody cares.


On that metaphor the fix is simple, but you’d be amazed at how many people miss the easy stuff.

Trust me, there is a fix for selling your music and making a living at it. It has never been more attainable for more artists than RIGHT NOW.

Maybe the fix isn’t as obvious or simple as moving a hamburger stand out of a vegan community, but there are already artists who have discovered the secret.


Some of these artists are making 7 figures a year.

Making a living off your music is doable. It’s not just a dream or a concept.

Foolish Chalkboard


Most of you are making simple mistakes like trying to hype on social media, or worse, trying to sell on social media.

Educate yourself and be willing to persevere and make errors. You will triumph.



Most of you are simply ignoring marketing all together. You just want to be artists.


Most of you are making excuses so you can avoid the thought of marketing.Foolish Knowledge Empowers You

Marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it does cost money.


Whether you spend money to educate yourself on music marketing or whether you spend money to get your music marketed, its mission critical to success.


Foolish Fight Ignorance

Let me save you the suspense, you are NEVER going to put a song up on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. and have it magically go “viral” and turn you into a somebody.

You’re going to have to work hard at this.

Foolish Work Hard Work Smart



You’re going to have to work smart at this.




The artists who become students of the marketing game are the artists who will make a living. That’s just a fact.


The artists who refuse become the sour elitists who look down their nose at the music business and complain about how unfair it is.


Foolish Critics


They become critics.






JT’s last quote had me emotional.


I feel this every day.  I had never heard it before JT brought it to my attention on this awards show. He mentioned that he has carried this quote with him, close to his heart, for years.

That should mean something to you.

Foolish Teddy Quote


It meant something to me.


It’s an excerpt from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in Paris, France on April 23rd 1910.


It should be a mantra (JT recited this excerpt VERBATIM, btw) for every artist and every innovator on the planet.


Read it once, then read it AGAIN.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

Here is the full speech if you’re interested.Foolish Regret quote



Have you ever noticed most people are critics?

Have you ever noticed critics don’t like to be perceived as foolish?


Foolish Feature 7


Have you ever noticed critics criticize who and what they think is foolish?


If you haven’t figured it out already you will eventually, critics reside with the cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.



F**k the critics, I prefer the foolish.






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Music Starving Millions

Consumers really want to buy music.

I keep hearing everyone complain from the bottom and from the top that record sales are down; consumers aren’t buying.Consumers Buy Feature Image

This is true.


Why aren’t people buying music like they used to if they really want to buy music?


Music is such an important part of so many of our lives. Is it that we just don’t care these days?

Are we in danger of having a society where music just isn’t present in the fabric of our lives?

Music is Important


No, it’s not that we don’t like music anymore as a society.

Consumers aren’t buying music because we aren’t reaching them.




The methods and dynamics to connecting with consumers has changed, therefore the marketing needs to change to influence their buyingMusic When You Are Happy decisions.

For the most part it hasn’t. We keep holding on to what used to work and by “we” I mean all of us; indie artists and major labels.

Either consumers aren’t aware of the product or they are aware of the product and don’t think it’s worth the price.

The previous statement was the very definition of ineffective marketing.


Yikes! They don’t think it’s worth it??


Access to the “mass market” is becoming more difficult and complex. The result is the mass market is nowhere near as “massive” as it used to be. This is because the mass market is continually fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces.

Music Mass Market Niche Market

As a big market disintegrates into smaller, more focused markets the definition changes from “mass market” to “niche market”.


As a marketer (of your music) you have to consider the fact that the mass market simply isn’t as easy to reach as it used to be because consumers have so many choices to hang out.


In any given media market, there used to be only 3 TV networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC), 1 or possibly 2 (genre specific) radio stations, 1 or 2 newspapers, and maybe MTV for consumers to receive input about any product, project, or artist.

Think about how easy that was for the record labels to reach us when we were such a captive audience.


Now we have well over 500 channels on TV in addition to the initial 3 networks.file00041345220


There are endless possibilities for consumers to devour radio including their 1 or 2 local terrestrial radio stations, HD Radio, Satellite Radio, I Heart Radio (1,000 stations), Pandora, Spotify, Deezer, Slacker, personal playlists, etc.


Every magazine, YouTube, social media, and countless music sites are accessible online at anytime, anywhere in the world from a smartphone.


There is a fundamental, paradigm shift happening right now in the music industry.


Simply put, the methods that were once effective in exposing consumers to new music and influencing their buying decisions has gone through a drastic change.


Music Paradigm Shift


These formerly effective methods were geared towards communicating to and converting a mass market.


The WHOLE industry will have to change with it and adapt. Until then, it will continue to suffer.



Consider this, as indie artists and human beings for that matter, our understanding of our everyday reality is directly related to the input we receive.


Think about that concept outside the realm of marketing music for a second.Music Input Brain Chart

  • Poor children aren’t aware that they are poor until they are exposed to how the other half lives.
  • Children of famous parents aren’t aware that their parents are famous until they are exposed to other children whose parents aren’t famous.
  • Mentally and physically abused people are sometimes not aware (or forget over time) that there are more peaceful ways to live because they get only one kind of input.
  • People that are constantly told they are bad, horrible, not important, etc., will ultimately begin to believe that if it is the only stimulus they are exposed to.

We are all products of the input we receive in life and, of course, input from the market place is equally applicable.


The input we receive becomes our reality.


Music Time To Adapt


My point is when you think about marketing your music you naturally think about how music (in the form of your favorite artists) has been marketed to you in the past.


It’s the only input you have ever received with regards to music marketing, and it worked.




It’s not working now.Music it's not working

Not for you.


Not for the major labels either.


Shania Twain’s “Up!” was certified 11 million units sold in September 23rd, 2004.Music Shania Twain Up



10 years later, Jason Aldean’s “Old Boots, New Dirt” was the best-selling country record of 2014 and it barely cracked 1 million in sales by December of last year.


Music Jason Aldean Old Boots



Clearly the record labels haven’t got it figured out yet, man.


So why follow them?


Consumers haven’t stopped wanting or liking music. The way in which they receive their input about music has drastically changed due to technology and a fragmented marketplace.


Music Who Else Should We Target


So, in a way, they’re starving for good music, they just can’t find it in the new marketplace. They can’t find it because we aren’t getting it to them in a language/manner they find acceptable.

The artists and labels that have figured this out are thriving.

Listen, consumers are just as desperate to be turned on to really good music as you are to sell it to them.  Crazy, huh?


The new way for receiving this marketing stimulus via social media and content marketing through email and text exchanges is consumed Music Chicken Paradigm ShiftCOMPLETELY differently than the mass media branding methods that were effective before.


Systems and strategies for addressing mass media don’t work for private, one on one interactions which is how social media, text messaging, and emails are consumed.



Once the fundamental changes to language and the approach have been internalized, understood, and executed masterfully music sales will rise.



Taylor Swift provides us with proof of concept on this statement.

Music Taylor Swift 1989


While Jason Aldean is an undeniable superstar at the top of his game with TONS of country radio support for his new record, he barely broke 1 million copies.


Taylor Swift released “1989” in 2014 and it was certified 4 million in sales January 22 of this year and she did it WITHOUT any help from country radio.

She knows how to communicate with her audience effectively in the new marketplace and she has the sales to prove it.

Not only is Taylor’s audience aware that her new record was released, they all felt it was worth it.


Right now I want you to quit lamenting the fact that you aren’t as popular as Taylor Swift and concentrate on the concept here.  COUNTRY RADIO ABANDONED this artist and still, she QUADRUPLED the sales of the #1 selling record that country radio unwaveringly supported!


How did that happen?!?!?!  Your future as an artist lies in the answer to this question, people.Music is Live image


You hear Jason Aldean’s singles every day, multiple times a day on the radio, every single he’s released is in heavy rotation.


You never hear Taylor Swift anymore on country radio (except for very recently but only on the limited number of NASH ICON stations which is a joint venture between Cumulus radio stations and Scott Borchetta’s NASH ICON label who is Taylor’s record label head…so that was just a matter of time).

In plain English, record sales are down because labels are not marketing properly. Period.


Music Marketing Sucks

Your marketing sucks too.


That is if you even think about marketing.




People want music, people need music, and people continue to consume music.

Just not your music.


It’s about the marketing.


Artists need innovative marketing strategies.


Want some staggering proof that it’s all about marketing?

I’ll give you 2 examples.

This is the absolute dumbest most insanely unnecessary product ever produced.

I believe the infomercials for this product still run today.

That is because of only one reason, it sells.

It sells for only one reason, marketing.

Nobody NEEDS the Pasta Pro but the buyers all feel it is worth it because it’s marketed correctly.



Here is another example that is simply mind blowing.Music Bottled Water

Bottled water.

Everyday people purchase a 1 liter bottle of water for $1.99.

On average. There are 3.7 liters in a gallon.

That equates roughly to $7.40/gallon for a product we can get for free.

We happily pay more for water, something we can obtain at no cost, than we do for gasoline.


Music Worth It


This is because of marketing.


We feel like it’s worth it.





Bottom line to all artists and major labels, if you aren’t selling your music, it’s because people aren’t aware of it and the ones that are don’t feel it’s worth it.

What has to happen for consumers to think your music is worth it?

If we can sell free water for more than twice the price of a gallon of gas, we damn sure can sell music.






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Faith Feature 1

Faith Believe In Yourself




How’s your faith these days?


Faith got faith image


Do you believe in your music even in the absence of proof of success?

Faith comes in all different shapes and sizes.

In your God.

In your significant other.

That your car is going to make it

Faith in your bandmates

In your cowriters.

In the future.

In your children.

In your business partners.Faith Fear shadow image

In your business.

In your vendors.

In your employees

In your family.



In humanity.

In your music.

In your ability to communicate.

Faith in yourself.Faith Believe in Yourself Hand


Yeah, ultimately to believe in all these other things, you MUST believe in yourself.

That’s really the bitch of the bunch right there.


Faith Believe in Yourself 2

Devotion to oneself is the connective tissue between the impossible and the possible.






It’s the building blocks required to construct the bridge between your dreams and your reality: faith is the raw materials of your life edifice.


If you don’t like your reality you need to check your faith.

Faith Check it


These building blocks require hard work to assemble them into something you find to be beautiful, satisfying, and fulfilling even if it looks different than the way you initially imagined it.


Not satisfied?


How’s your faith these days?


Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about it saying faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Faith MLK Quote


We can never see the whole staircase, better get used to that .



 Faith means the either the glass is half full, or if it’s half empty which is ok because you’re the one pouring the water.

Faith Glass half full


It kept the Wright brothers working to achieve the impossible.


It kept Def Leppard moving forward in the face of multiple terrible personal and business tragedies.

Faith Def Leppard image





The founding fathers of the United States had to of had it to risk their lives, speak their mind, take action, and make a new world.


Faith was what held us together as families, as a country, and for some as a human being, after WWI, WWII, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Gulf War, The War in Afghanistan, The Iraq War, and every other unspeakable conflict in our nation’s history.


One of the reasons we struggle to believe in ourselves is our education system in this country. It’s archaic dating back to the monarchy and designed to keep people on the proverbial hamster wheel.

That’s good for government and people control.


That’s bad for art.



Art requires faith in yourself.

You know this, though, don’t you?

To a degree, when your loved ones offer resistance of any kind about your career they are behaving out of a deeply rooted fear that has been planted in our society for hundreds of years.Faith Why So Jealous

Some are jealous because you are an uninhibited spirit and choose to live “outside the box” of societal standards.




Faith AngrySome are angry because you remind them that they lost faith in themselves a while ago. They secretly dream to live where you live.

You aren’t trying, but you make them feel inferior.


Everybody secretly dreams to live their own life.


Few do because it’s hard and requires and insane amount of conviction.


It’s easier to get on the hamster wheel.

Some friends and family are genuinely scared for you because they don’t want to see you suffer living against the norms of society. They come by this feeling honestly as that is what they were taught. So were their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.; they’re drinking the Kool-Aid.

Our society teaches us to believe what they put forth rather than think for ourselves.Faith Kool Aid


It requires assurance in yourself to remember that and take heed.



It is not seeing exactly how your life will turn out rather it’s more about a deep understanding that in the face of danger, defeat, doubt, and utter failure you will find a way to survive, improvise, adapt, overcome, and even thrive.

Faith Step of Faith


It is a reliance in your own personal growth as a human, a soul, a friend, a lover, a parent, an artist.

It is the very thread of hope that gets you through the tough days and makes the good days taste sweeter.



With conviction in the uncertain times you get validation when the answers become clear in 20/20 hindsight.Faith validation



Validation manifests itself in the form of failure sometimes, think Thomas Edison finding 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.





Faith PAIN


Validation manifests itself in the form of pain sometimes like when you’re intuition was right all along and you finally have proof. Ugh. That one sucks.

Faith means believing, TRULY believing before validation.

Belief in yourself is paramount to any success and happiness of any kind.

Faith becomes validation.


You can’t succeed without believing in yourself.Faith plus hard work equals success

This convinction grows stronger through hard work.

Hard work begets validation.

Faith + Hard Work = Validation.

How’s your faith these days?






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Practice Feature Image Juggle

As an artist I spent COUNTLESS hours practicing my guitar.  Practicing my vocals, writing, and practicing with my band.

Practice Feature Image Guitar Pick

When we were making a living at making music there wasn’t a week that went by where we weren’t playing 4-6 hours a day as a band.

It came from our regular practice schedule and then relentless touring gigs.

Practice Nevermind Nirvana


When I moved to Nashville after the 80’s hair band thing was abruptly ended by Nirvana’s “Nevermind” record, I recorded some solo material.  I searched for musicians and paid them to get the right tracks, I wasn’t just looking to “get it done” from a project management perspective or just as damaging, an excitedly curious perspective.



I wanted it to be great!

Know your strengths and weaknesses and address them.

DSCN4391You have to be able to acknowledge the difference between an “A”, “B”, and “C” song.

Just because your song means the world to you doesn’t mean the world will care about it.


I paid players to cut the tracks I needed.

I shopped for players based on their talent and not  price tag.


You get what you pay for.

Practice You Get What You Pay For


I grew up on analog recording so when the industry switched to digital I needed to learn Pro-Tools real fast.



I used to fly Kelly out to LA to mix my projects. I paid to fly him out and I paid him the “bro-rate” on an hourly basis with the stipulation that I got to ask questions.

I got to be annoying with questions. Practice Luck Circle

He’ll tell you that too, I’m sure.

Learning this software was mission critical to my artistic soul.


My band paid money to get vocal lessons.  We wanted to build a better live show and we didn’t have the tools.

You’ve got to pay for tools, and knowledge.

Practice You Don't Deserve To Win


It was amazing how many “perks” via favors and good energy that came to us for being a SOLID band.


People could easily tell that we were serious and we worked hard at it.


They found it “refreshing”.

The moral of the story is that when you do good work and you work hard people take you seriously.

They don’t take you seriously if you plan to do good work.Practice Bruce Lee quote

When you tell people you plan to do good work they blow it off.  You sound like everyone else.

Everybody PLANS to do good work.

The difference between the doers and the talkers is execution.  Plain and simple.


The people who actually execute good work instantly separate themselves from the crowd.

The only way to do good work is to be good.


The only way to be good is to practice.


Practice takes time, money, and energy.

Practice Flow Chart Feature Image


These days I pay to learn as much as I can about my current gig which is marketing artists.

We are cracking the code for the New Music Business 2.0 here at Daredevil Production.


We collect little pieces of knowledge gleaned from various paid sources and assemble them to construct the vision of our future.


I feel like too many of you want people to take you seriously as an artist based on what you plan to do rather than what you have done.

You will never get better if you are waiting for someone to believe in you before you get serious about your career.


That’s is probably the most rampant mental flaw that artists possess.  They simply don’t believe in themselves enough so they set up a pretty wicked mental racket. Practice Luck Definition

They say to themselves that if they could just get to the right people that believed in them they would go ALL IN.

Here’s the thing, if you don’t have measurable, tangible evidence that you’re “all in” and your great when you meet “the right people” then you will get nothing from that meeting.

Zero love.


The end result is artists frequently meet the right people but are unprepared or unimpressive.


Practice Truth image


These artists know it so their energy is off. (Why give a CD with disclaimers, btw?)

The “right people” know it instantly.

The artists get jaded.

The cycle begins again.



This is true in any business.  People are exactly the same. They all talk the talk but until you walk the walk you won’t impress anyone.


I created a life-long mentor (who I lost to a heart attack in January of 2014) from a meeting that was set up by our (then) new booking agency.  IPractice Mark O'Toole took him out to eat and kept driving the conversation back to him.  He was fascinating and SUPER smart!  A hustler! He kept telling me the truth, I knew it, and I wanted more.

People always like to talk about themselves.  Sometimes it’s far more productive, far more beneficial to you to keep your mouth shut and pay attention.

I knew I wasn’t going to impress so I kept my mouth shut and appeared stupid rather than open it up and remove all doubt.


In the case of this specific mentor (RIP Mark O’Toole), he was extremely humble and very matter of fact.


Some are more of the bragging type, but SO WHAT?  As long as they’re talking you should be listening.  Forget about how you feel about the way they serve it up and concentrate on whether you think they’re being truthful, man.

By the simple gesture of taking him to dinner and admitting I was green and needed some input from a pro like him, he liked me.

Practice Honesty

He like my honesty.

He like my hustle.

He probably liked that I kept my mouth shut.

He was attracted to my undying thirst for knowledge and how to apply it.

I think he could see that I was focused on becoming a student of the game.

He remembered me.



That’s the kind of people that mentors want to help.


Mentors don’t want beggars.


Practice No Beggars


Mentors don’t want hangers on.



They don’t want charity cases.  The whole “somebody needs to help me because I’m unable to help myself” doesn’t IMG_6570usually attract good people in the animal kingdom (of which we are a part of).



It attracts predators that smell the blood from an easy kill so if that’s you STOP IT.  I promise you will just continue to attract predators.

It’s like sticking a bloody hand in shark infested waters, screaming for the sharks to come, and then complaining that you got your hand bit off.

This is why so many of you that operate from a certain “victim” or “pity” approach keep getting screwed.

Practice Amadeus Mozart Quote


If it makes you feel better the story doesn’t change for the artists who punch through into any kind of market awareness and brand name.  The more they avoid the nuts and bolts of their own business, the more they get screwed.

Inspect what you expect.


If you don’t learn what to look for (how to inspect and what to expect) you will get screwed when you start making money.

You have to practice to learn what to look for.Practice The Less You Bleed Quote


Balance between project management (get the goods to market) and artistic excellence is key as well.

You hear me harp about how marketing will make or break any project.


Well we have all seen good marketing break projects that are artistically lame and unimaginative.

We have never seen zero, lame, or unimaginative marketing break an amazing artistic project; it kills it.


Either way you’re going to need marketing and team building skills.


Either way you’re going to have to practice your marketing.


Practice makes perfect.

You can’t effectively market yourself unless you’re willing to suck at it in the beginning.

Practice Suck Meter


Just like your music.


You used to suck at that too.

Nobody was born with all the tools they need to succeed.

So if you want to move these little products you create and make a living, you will first need to learn how to get better.


How to get better at making them.Practice Makes Perfect

How to get better at marketing them.

Of course, that will require practice.






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Business. Keep Right


Good business.


We all aspire to do good business.

Business Everyone has good ideas

We all dream of exactly how we are going to treat our employees, business relationships, and charities once we’re on top and the cash starts rolling in.

The trick is getting the cash to start rolling in.Business Cash Flow King

Getting the cash flow requires business savvy.


The entertainment industry is no different than selling any other widget. It’s all about creating relationships, creating good product, and selling that product.

Don’t be naïve, just because that product means something to you, moves you emotionally, or is your reason for living doesn’t discount the fact that it is a product, although certainly means it’s an important product.

To you anyway.

Business Savvy


The rest of the world won’t know unless they experience it.

If you’re making art for the sake of art, God bless, you need not read any further.




If you’re aspire to make a living at making art, then you not only need to be an artist, but you also need to be a good businessperson.

This important product, for some of you it’s your life’s work, needs targeted exposure to infiltrate the marketplace.

Business Communicate Stick Figure

You got to turn people on to something cool, man.


You got to serve it up so consumers are willing to receive your information

You’ve got to communicate with them.


The old wives tale that states “great music will find its audience” (or some such nonsense) is perpetuated by legacy artists who had their record deals in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and chose not to think about marketing or any other business aspect of their careers.

You have to understand that while they are definitely doing you a disservice by making such a statement, these misguided artists aren’t intentionally lying to you.

You always have to consider the source.

Business Always Consider the sourceThey made music and it found an audience. While this was their experience, I can tell you that the “Great music” statement completely negates the amazing marketing efforts of their label.

Yeah, their great music “found” an audience alright, that’s because some marketing team went out, targeted the audience, and put something wonderful in front of them to consume.


Consume they did.


How the hell can anyone respond to something they haven’t experienced yet? Sheesh!


Listen, there are TONS of people who live and die for music out there; maybe even your music.


FACT: 99.99999% of these people will not take the time to discover the music on their own. They need to be shown something good and then they’re a Superfan for life.


Here’s the good business dichotomy I see every day with most artists.

Business Dichotomy Break


Y’all are MORE than willing to spend your money, your life savings sometimes (or someone else’s), on a killer recording project, be it a single, EP, or full CD.

This is good business.

You’re (hopefully) dead set on creating an amazing piece of work, AKA product.


Business Good business is good business






Most of y’all’s plan to market this product is to “put it out there” on iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify, etc. and see if anyone likes it.

Business Bad Business Practice Band Aid

This is bad business.


This is the reason your music doesn’t sell at all.



This is the reason you’re broke either financially, spiritually (working your crappy job), or both.



So you’re willing to take the financial leap artistically speaking with regards to making the product.

Why is marketing the product never worked into the budget?




Why is there some disconnect on the value of marketing?Business You're Broke Pocket

That’s like writing songs with beautiful lyrics and melodies only to record them with no singer.

What’s the point exactly?

Business What's the Point GoatWhy is marketing, at best, an afterthought amongst indie artists?


This is a mission critical oversight.

Some of you want so bad to be on a label that will do this for you but you ignore doing it for yourself.




This is adolescent thinking because you need to learn to market yourself to get the record deal.

Then you’ll need to know how to market yourself to keep it.

DSCF4881 (1)


You have to wake up, your careers are burning.


The contradiction lies in the fact that you gladly paid good money to get your project recorded or you did it yourself (which requires thousands of hours of experience for there to be excellence).

You got the sound you wanted for your release.

Now, for some reason you choose not to put the same financial attitude/approach or work ethic into the marketing of your epic release.

I’ve said it a thousand times, once you get that record deal you are so desperately seeking, the label will allocate a staggeringly low percentage of the overall budget to recording.

The lion’s share will go to marketing for the sole purposes of doing good business.



DSC03800-BLabels understand what you don’t.

You are going to have to pay for customers initially.



You are going to be a startup business in the beginning.


It’s going to cost money to expose this masterpiece of yours to the marketplace.

If your music is as good as you think it is, those customers will become fans.Business Mission Critical

Fans = repeat customers.


Repeat customers are far more profitable than preliminary customers.


Profitable repeat customers are non-existent without preliminary customers.


Get it?


If you keep in step with a normal record budget in terms of the financial allocation, at least 75% of the overall funds would go to marketing; the remainder is for the actual recording.

What did your last recording budget look like in comparison to this equation?

Why is marketing so often overlooked when it is the biggest piece of the professional artist pie?



cmw3_d40_dsc_446_cropped-300 (1)A MISSION CRITICAL piece of the pie you desire so badly.

Think about that statement for a second. If good art was mission critical we’d have no bad songs or horrible artists.

Yep, good marketing is mission critical for an incredible project, it turns crap into commerce too.



So many of you are spending low or zero attention & money on marketing efforts and consequently getting low or zero dollars in revenue.

Zero marketing = zero revenue.

Makes sense doesn’t it?


Here is the way I see it.

You have choices.Business Learn From yourself

  1. You can choose to learn this yourself – in the lifetime you have left after work, family, writing, recording, etc.
    • Yes, this will work just fine (provided you commit to a consistent effort which will require passion for marketing) but you have a huge learning curve.
    • I dare you to work half as hard on learning the marketing as you did learning to play your instrument. Can you imagine?
    • Where exactly will you get the knowledge in this extra life time to learn?
    • How long will it take to tackle that learning curve and begin to see results?
    • How certain are you that this isn’t just an excuse not to start?
  2. You can choose to pay for knowledge – and get a jump start on the strategies while you learn to customize these strategies to your particular situation.
    • This method will cut your time to the coast for sure.
    • It also means you are truly taking action instead of making excuses.
    • Some of you paid for music lessons right? Isn’t this logical as a next step?Business Knowledge Empowers You
    • You still have to put in the sweat equity but at least you are addressing the fact that you need to market your music and you need to learn how to do it well.
  3. You can choose to pay someone to set it up for you
    • Watching someone is the fastest method for learning.
    • Of course, it’s the most expensive of these three options.
    • You will witness the process of developing customized marketing strategies for your particular brand.
    • If you have a brain this would be considered an education because it will get your creative marketing juices FLOWING while it teaches you “how to fish”.


I have some thoughts.


You probably paid for some kind of musical lessons somewhere along your journey.

Business Music Lessons

You probably paid for studio time somewhere along your journey.

Some of you have paid to play somewhere along your journey.


Some of you have paid for a music education or recording education somewhere along your journey.




If you can agree that marketing your product is crucial, then you will need to pay for some marketing education somewhere along your journey.





Paying a company you trust to work YOUR project is far more effective than any marketing class you’ll ever take. Kill 2 birds for the price of 1.

That’s just good business.





Business Steve Jobs


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Emotion Event Feature image 2

I have found that one of the key skill sets to success is learning how to separate the emotion from the event in certain business and life scenarios. Emotion heart beat stick figure image

I refined this concept while occupying a National Sales Director position for nationwide short sale corporation.

Stay with me on this, ok?

After the 2008 mortgage meltdown there were millions of homeowners who found themselves in the unenviable position of having to sell their home when they were “upside down” on the mortgage.

In plain English they owed more, sometimes much more, than what the property was worth.

Emotion Short Sale


Almost all the time these good people could put themselves in a FAR better real-time financial situation by short selling their house and moving, thus, dramatically lowering their monthly housing costs.


Often times they could keep the SAME lifestyle.



Sometimes they could move across the street to rent an equal size home, with equal amenities, for HALF of what their monthly mortgageEmotion Half a Payment payment was costing them on their current house.

How would you feel if you could cut your monthly mortgage or rent payment in HALF without really changing your lifestyle or neighborhood?


Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Emotion Duh Einstein



It was the most baffling exercise in communication I have ever gone through.

Homeowners had a problem separating the emotion from the event.


They would say, “Our kids grew up [are growing up] here”.angry-woman

A valid point.

I would remind them that a house was simply a building and their family made it a “home”. They would make a home anywhere.

They would say, “We like this school system and don’t want to move our kids”.

Another valid concern. (Even though nobody was suggesting their kids should change schools.)




The simple FACT that all these good people were facing was that their investment in the American Dream had gone horribly wrong.

Emotion Home is Where The Heart is


If they moved they could get out from under a HUGE investment debt that had begun to destroy their financial future, as opposed to cultivating equity. All this came at a monthly cost that was literally TWICE what they could get for the EXACT same lifestyle if they sold (eliminating the bad debt), rented a comparable property, and began to rebuild their finances.



The truth is their pride was hurt because they were financially wounded with the property.


Often times this was due to financial circumstances that were out of their control.


Often times this was due to horrible financial decisions they had made.


Either way, the damage was the same.

Often times they were subconsciously punishing themselves for getting into the position.

Emotion Guilt


Many ended up in foreclosure which was far worse for their credit rating and completely PREVENTABLE.


Get it?

They were scared to move so they screwed themselves.Emotion Scared will set you free


Artists and songwriters do this too, and they do it often.


How many of you are being held back because your good friend is the weak link in the act?


How many of you are hurting your brand because your artist child wants to put everything it ever creates up on the world’s refrigerator before its ready lest you be judged?

Emotion Poor Quality



How many of you are creating product with poor quality (horrible sonic quality, shoddy performances, amateur arrangements, etc.) because of whatever excuse?



How many of you are so busy lamenting the fact that your careers are not going the way you pictured they would (or should), that you’re Emotion Missed Opportunitiescompletely missing the opportunities and strategies that will effectively get them going?

How much energy are you spending on the emotion vs. action towards the event?


How many of you are procrastinating or avoiding taking action because you are unsure of exactly what it will look like when you’re done?


If you want to be an artist than BE AN ARTIST.


Emotion I Am A Writer

 If you want to be a writer than BE A WRITER.

Stop riding the fence and GET IN THE GAME.



This statement sounds like it should be filed in the “easier said than done” category but let’s look at the rest of your life.

Let’s dissect the destructive phrase “Easier said than done”.Emotion Easier Said Than Done


What if you approached your current job with the same attitude that you approach your fledgling artist career?


What if you called your boss and told him you weren’t feeling it today?

Emotion Boss

What if you told your boss you weren’t coming in because you were scared?

You know, scared of dropping a tray of food or drinks, making the wrong cocktail, measuring once and cutting twice on your construction gig, or scared of learning some new software process they are requiring.


Would you have a job?



Of course not.  So you go to work even though you don’t have a clear picture of what your day is going to look like and you get through it.

You already KNOW how to separate the emotion of your daily job from the daily events that occur.

Some of them are great events.

Some of them are nasty events.Emotion Paycheck

Some of the bad events happen EVERY DAY for crying out loud (don’t we all have that douchebag at work we have to tolerate?)

You still push forth every day, on a consistent basis and do what you have to do and you get your results.

A paycheck.


You pay your bills.


You do it again.

Logically speaking, if you would apply the same predictably mundane climb, up the staircase of faith you do at your day job to your music career you would begin to see magnificent results.

Emotion Staircase of Faith


Take a deep breath and let me ask you this.


Why do so many of you place the hopes of your future career on meeting “the right people” that will do it all for you?



I mean those drinks aren’t going to make themselves.

That board isn’t going to measure and cut itself.

That food isn’t going to deliver itself to your table out there.

That new software isn’t going to learn itself.


Why do you expect anyone in the music business to jump in and help you for free when you clearly won’t do it yourself?


Why would you expect anyone you don’t know in the music industry to help you for free when you don’t expect anyone you know to do your job Emotion Help Yourselffor you at your regular job?

Or do you?

How is it that you can separate the emotion from events occurring in your day job but you’re afraid to make a move in your artist career?


Is it because you just can’t see EXACTLY how it will look?


Why are you not as fearful about these SAME issues at your day job?

I mean, who knows what could happen, right?

Emotion Unknown


Where do you get the courage to consistently go to work and face the terrifying unknown, but fail to execute this same brave behavior with your artist career?




I’ve got news for you.


You will never know EXACTLY how it will work out at your day job or your artist career.

Your artist career will NEVER develop EXACTLY as you planned it.


Your boss doesn’t want you to make the same mistakes over and over. He/she expects you to learn at your position and improve.praying-hands-Pencil

In fact your current boss is banking on that concept with you.

For some of you (and you know who you are), your bosses have more faith in your abilities to learn and improve at your day job than you have in yourself to learn and improve your artist career.


Whoa, let that one soak in a bit.


You are going to have to get serious about your artist career and change your behavior if you expect to see real results.

Emotion Einstein Mistakes quote


You are going to have to work smarter.

You are going to have make some mistakes.

You are going to have to invest time and money.

You are going to have to pay for some training so you can LEARN to be better.Emotion Paid Training


You are going to have to do this yourself and create momentum.


I promise, once you have some momentum, the “important people” you seek will appear.


Emotion Momentum


They will come to you.


You will have far more leverage in a relationship like that then you would have if you seek them with your hat in your hand.



The difference between artists and professional artists is simply commerce by definition.


The rest of the details will naturally, organically improve if you have a heart beat and a brain.

Your art will get better.


Your business acumen will develop.

Your relationships will develop.



Things that once were foreign and unimaginable will become second nature to you, like tying your shoes or tuning a guitar.

Yes, you will have to work extra hours above and beyond the demands of your day job.



Welcome to the world of professional artists.


Professionals are all in, man, and don’t get me wrong, they get pissed off when things don’t go their way.

But they press on.Emotion Just Believe In Your Dreams

There is no such thing as “spare time”

There is no such thing as “free time”

There is only life time, so don’t waste it by avoiding what you love to do.


I mean, you already know how to separate the emotion from the event.






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10 YouTube Fundamentals Feature

I attended a killer YouTube tutorial put on by their upper brass and some of their biggest stars here in Nashville recently.  I learned the 10 fundamentals for creating a viral YouTube series.Fundamentals YouTube meh image

Why YouTube?

Look, YouTube is the new MTV only without the guaranteed audience.

But the REACH is there and it’s bigger than MTV’s ever was.

In plain English that means any artist has access to BILLIONS of consumers, you just need to crack the code for getting them to find you and care about you.


Fundamentals 1 Billion Views

Think about the reach possibilities for a second. One of the speakers at this tutorial was part of a comedy team that had a channel with 1 BILLION views.


The opportunity and availability is there you just have to learn to reach out.


People, this is an incredible exposure mechanism for your music!  You can target your audience via social media and use these platforms to drive traffic to your YouTube channel and grow your subscribership.

There are many people who make a living just off of YouTube, btw.Fundamentals Macklemore Grammy

There are many artists like Noah, Karmin, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis who broke their careers wide open on YouTube.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy’s for crying out loud!


What more do you need to know?


Why aren’t you working every day to find a way to win on this amazing platform?


Gone are the days of the “One-Hit Wonder” viral video.


FYI, it should be noted that gone are the days of a “1-hit wonder” viral video.  If your strategy is to create or hope to create one video that will go viral you have already failed.

Success on your YouTube channel is like everything else in your life.

Fundamentals Consistency


It requires consistency.

Consistency builds the foundation for ever increasing views and subscribership.  Then you get your viral video.

Here are the 10 fundamentals of creating a viral series on YouTube.

It should be said that it isn’t necessary to have EVERY one of these fundamentals on every video but you want to constantly be thinking of ways to improve by checking this list often.

  1. Shareability – The content has to give consumers a reason to share it. Some things that make a video shareable are if they’reFundamentals Sharing
    1. Funny
    2. Relatable (remember the video of the woman who filmed herself walking through NYC for one day?)
    3. Topical
    4. Practical with practical value (or be valuable) like life hacks, advice, tutorials, etc.
  2. Conversational – Creating conversational tones to your video posts is clutch fundamentals Bunny conversationwith regards to connecting with your audience. A couple ways to make your video conversational are:
    1. Responding directly to your fans via comments
    2. Mentioning your fans by name in the comments and/or video posts
    3. Talking directly to them on the video is hugely important.
    4. Treat the tone like a Snapchat or Instagram vid that you send to your friends
    5. Think of your fans as friends
  3. Interactivity – finding clever ways to spur interactivity gets your audience involved. I’ll bet you do this every performance. Like when you try to get the audience to sing along, to clap along, or divide the crowd to see who can yell the loudest. Here are some ideas
    1. Always be thinking “How can we involve the fans?” if you think it enough the answers will come. Your subconscious will reward you.
    2. Ask Questions!
    3. Tell them to comment on the video or via social media platforms.
    4. HINT: when we are working with our artists we ask questions in social media as well and send them to YouTube to see the answers and here their shout outs.
  4. Consistency – All social media platforms are about consistency and YouTube is no Fundamentals Consistency Clockdifferent. There are several different kinds of consistency as well like;
    1. Schedule – From a consumer point of view, just think about a TV series you got obsessed with and then missed a few episodes (for whatever reason). Then you learned that your life was absolutely fine without watching it.  You DON’T want your fans on your YouTube channel to be thinking this, do you?
    2. Personality – Keeping a consistent personality type is key so I strongly advise for you to be YOU, unless you are creating a character of sorts like Earl Dibbles Jr. or Miranda Sings (notice even when they’re doing characters they are consistent).
    3. Format – keeping a similar consistent format helps your fans recognize what they liked before AND why change it if it’s working? For instance, there is a huge channel of some guy from South America who does heavy metal guitar covers of the latest big YouTube hits. He is ALWAYS in front of the same crappy wall playing the same guitar. It’s Fundamentals Targeting The Techology is Theretotally recognizable.
    4. Style and Voice – If your posts are funny and thought provoking I don’t recommend switching to heavy topical content like religion or politics.
  5. Targeting – Make sure you are targeting a clearly defined audience. I think this would be a good exercise for many of you because y’all could stand to do some of that with your music projects too, not for nothing. Additionally, targeting your channel in the right genres, topics, sub topics, etc.
  6. Sustainability – this is big y’all. When I was at this YouTube tutorial, they had Fundamentals Sustainabilityseveral pro “YouTubers” speak. Every one of them said if they couldn’t shoot 3 episodes in an afternoon they would move on to the next idea. You have to make sure that your vision is doable on a consistent basis. If it’s too complicated it will not be sustainable and you will fall off; so will your audience. In plain English, if they like it can you easily make more?
  7. Discoverability – In other words, is your video findable? Here is the main reason for lyric videos in the music business, y’all. Meta data has to be done intentionally and intelligently to optimize your video’s performance. For instance, if you are doing a video for a cover song list the song name first in the title, then the artist name, then your name. HINT: once you are aware of what needs to be done a ton of information on “how to” is available simply by looking at other videos. Now you know what to look for._DSC0112
  8. Accessibility – Can every episode be appreciated by a brand new viewer? Essentially, Fundamentals Accessibility Word imagethere needs to be some kind of quick, standard opening that tells a new viewer what you are about. This strategy makes each video more accessible.
  9. Collaboration – As you grow your channel’s subscribership, collaborations are encouraged by YouTube. Find another artist using YouTube and collaborate with them on something, you will definitely glean some of their followers and get more views. Fundamentals Stop Collaborate & ListenLook for a guest star or a YouTube star to get that going.
  10. Authenticity – Don’t show a video of your white face stating you’re a black man/woman. This is funny but if authenticity is absent the consumers will know like a dog can smell fear. Another sure fire way to ensure authenticity is do what you know. They tell songwriters to write what you know, so shoot what you know on YouTube. That will keep you authentic.

Fundamentals Authenticity Definition

YouTube is you on TV with access to billions of people if you just put together the right formula with a ton of hard work.

Don’t be misled, there is no one magic formula that is going to skyrocket you to success with YouTube.

Consistent, intelligent work will grow your audience.

Right now, to most of you, the secrets of unlocking the power of YouTube are very foreign.

So was tying your shoelaces at one point.

You’ll figure it out, man, but you have to do the work. The answers won’t magically come to you.

I’ll leave you with an old Chinese Proverb: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is RIGHT NOW.

FYI you can find a bunch of this information at YouTube’s creator hub here:

Fundamentals Chinese Proverb

Fundamentals Authenticity Uncover Your True Self











We offered a FREE seminar that covered a bunch of this last week.  If you missed it you can see it below.

Once you digest this, join our bootcamp to really dig down and learn how to create revenue doing what you were born to do

FYI, this is a BETA bootcamp so we are only taking a limited amount of attendees to ensure we give proper attention to everyone.

Sign up for the bootcamp here:







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