6 Music Industry Myths
I was reading a Bob Lefsetz blog post called “Myths” the other day and it got me thinking (btw, you should subscribe and be reading Lefsetz too) Bob’s a little negative sometimes but there is good, ACCURATE information in there. It’s free, we can never have enough education).
Here are 6 additional myths I thought I would add to the mix with specific regards to the music industry.
Good music will find its own audience. This is categorically untrue.
- Step 1: make good music!
- Step 2: you have to expose that good music to TONS of people and THEN they will respond to you.
- In other words YOU have to find your audience.
- There is a flashpoint somewhere after a massive amount of people are exposed to good music and it takes on a life of its own.
- It doesn’t happen “magically” on the merits of the music alone, sorry
Your music video will possibly go viral on YouTube.
- Again, 99.9999% of the time the viral videos are from artists (like Karmin [90 million views now] andNoah [21 million views]) that built up a solid foundation of subscribers through consistent WORK and content before their big video went viral.
- There are always exceptions to the rule, but if your business model is founded on the success of these very rare occurrences you’re naive; you’re setting yourself up for needless disappointment.
- FYI, the algorithms change, ranking you higher on YouTube, when a large amount of people view a video within hours of it being posted.
- The better ranking can post you on the front page of YouTube thus creating a ton of organic traffic.
- Then it takes on a life of its own when corporate money comes in.
If you make a “demo” of your music then “shop” it to the labels you might get a record deal.
- This procedure was once the normal protocol but that process died 15-20 years ago, seriously. Anybody telling you this is the way to go is out of touch by a decade or two.
- Of course there are VERY rare exceptions to the rule, but again, if you are basing your future on these exceptions you are betting your entire future on winning the lottery. I mean, it COULD happen, right?
- Record labels don’t really develop talent like they used to because they can’t afford it anymore.
- EXAMPLE: In 1978 when Tom Petty released “Damn the Torpedoes” it cost $8.00, that’s the same as $27.14 today.
- Multiply $27.14 times 500,000, then 1 million, then 10 million. Get it?
- You are going to have to figure out how to create real momentum on your own.
- You are going to have to be at least a regional success with a profitable business model before you get your major label deal.
- FYI, by that time, you probably won’t need the majors anyway. LOL.
Once You get a record deal life will be easier; you’ve made it, you’re finally getting paid. This is so wrong!
- With the current business model of every record label, once you are signed you now enter into a club where only 10% of the artists make money and succeed. The remaining 90% reside in the “artist protection program”; meaning they don’t make money and often can’t get out of their deal.
- The work STARTS once you get your deal and by that time you better have your team-building, business savvy, and communication skill sets at a very high level or you will be forgotten and put aside; there are just too many people who know how to play the game better than you, that are waiting to take your place.
Artists like Taylor Swift and Trent Reznor made it because they were rich so if you had their money you would make it too. FALSE!
- Yes, they were rich.
- Taylor’s father invested GREATLY in her career and Trent is a descendant of the Reznor Air Conditioning Company.
- Yes, money doesn’t hurt your chances but it isn’t everything.
- Consider this; there is no shortage of money.
- If it were just about cash everyone with money who wanted to be a star would be one.
- It takes WAY more than just money; you have to be the right person in the right place at the right time. (that line is stolen from former Taylor Swift manager Rick Barker)
- I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone throw PANT-LOADS of money at a career and nothing happens.
- I’ve seen parents spend over $100,000 on a record for their children with the best producers and nothing happened with it.
- I’ve seen a father spend $500k to get his daughter on a major tour with a country legend and nothing happened.
- I’ve seen an artist get an investor with $850K, blow the marketing money on a tour bus (yes, that’s right, a depreciating asset with no tour to use it on because no demand was created, so no revenue stream was produced) and then get an additional $1,000,000.00 and a major label deal (you’ve never heard of this artist, probably never will.)
- I promise you that Trent Reznor and Taylor Swift have outworked all of you.
- Trent got a job at a recording studio in Cleveland in the mid-80’s to gain access to the recording equipment late at night where he created the first Nine Inch Nails record, when did he sleep?
- Taylor had TENS OF THOUSANDS of MySpace fans long before she ever recorded her first song for a record label. She constantly asked the fans what they wanted her to write about; THIS is how she found her audience and connected with them.
- Think about all work these artists did with little or no immediate return on the time invested.
- Do you have that kind of resolve about your music?
Writing a hit song happens magically.
- Look sometimes this does happen but not until the writers understand and honor the fact that songwriting is a craft.
- They KNOW how to toil over the lyrics, melodies, chord changes and work their butts off to do it right.
- Once you get this concept and put in some serious time, the Gods just might throw a 5-minute hit song in your lap. Yes that song “wrote itself” but it takes a lifetime of work to make it that easy.
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