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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?

 

 

Stay

 

In

 

Tune

 

 

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Make No Mistake, Your Crude Oil Is Useless

Mistake Feature image

I keep hearing artists say they can’t afford and they don’t know how to market their music. If you’re not marketing, make no mistake, you have recorded a vanity project.

Mistake Vanity 2 License Phillip Pessar

Photo Credit:: Phillip Passar

 

It’s for nobody else but you.

 

Yes, you’re going to sell a few CD’s at live shows, but these are more of an impulse souvenir purchase as opposed to creating a real fan base. They were drunk and you moved them. If you’re doing over 200 gigs per year, you might make your recording budget back. Otherwise you’re business model is losing money.

 

The consumers that purchased your CD at a live show need to see you again somewhere and hear about you somewhere else for that awesome live show experience to become a mental anchor in their psyche.

In short, for your music to actually mean something to them, you’re going to need more than just a live show.

Mistake Rock Star

 

Isn’t that what you want, for your music to mean something to somebody?

 

You have to give them another reason to talk about you so they can proudly relate the fact that they have already seen you live to their friends.

 

 

 

They also have to interact with you on social media in a way that makes them feel special, a part of something bigger than themselves.

Mistake Sheep Crowd

 

 

This is how you get into the head of a music loving consumer.

 

This is how you slowly build critical mass.

 

Make no mistake, your live shows, songwriting, and recorded music won’t be enough.

Mistake 2 Brains

 

For some reason, in the music world (notice I DIDN’T say music business) wannabe artists think they can write, record, perform, and make records (which is a vastly different endeavor than simply pressing the record button on your home pro tools rig…but I digress) and “make it” on their own capitalizing on sheer raw talent.

 

They think, “I’ll just get these ideas recorded and put them up on iTunes and then wait for the world to notice.

 

Make no mistake, raw talent is just that; RAW TALENT.

Mistake Oil Collage

 

Gasoline, rubber tires, and asphalt are examples of oil based products that consumers spend money on in the marketplace, therefore these items are valuable.

 

 

Crude oil is worthless to a consumer.

 

Crude oil is worthless until it is refined. Once there is a refinement process, and a pipeline to the marketplace, crude oil becomes extremely valuable.

 

Get it?

 

This is how I view y’all. You are all valuable crude oil but with no refinement process and no real pipeline to the marketplace.

 

Mistake Crude Oil

Too many of you don’t understand why consumers aren’t buying your crude oil and you’re frustrated.

 

 

 

Make no mistake, nobody does it on their own, you will need a team around you. Yes that team will consist of managers and booking agents in the future, but not until you have something to manage and you can put some asses in seats.

 

 

Until then your team will consist of people who help you improve (refine) your music (i.e. songwriters, engineers, Producers) and people who help you market your music (i.e. marketing companies), or people who teach you how to market your music, (marketing classes, paid coaching, etc.)

Mistake Marketing

 

Make no mistake, your favorite iconic artists, LEARNED

  • How to refine their art
  • How to refine their approach
  • How to refine their attitude
  • How to refine their image
  • How to refine their songwriting
  • The importance of marketing
  • How to refine their live performances
  • The importance of networking
  • Solid team-building strategies from the professionals around them who made a living in the music business and TAUGHT them how to succeed.

 

 

Your favorite artists were not born famous, they were not born successful, and they were not born knowing what they know now.

These artists were crude oil, worthless until refined.

 

Mistake Springsteen Collage

 

FYI, it took most of these artists 30 solid songs, in 3 solid records, with 3 solid marketing campaigns to “break” and become the household names they are today (even if they’re indie, btw). It was a long journey that took time, energy, perspective, and a team of people to execute.

 

 

Think of your favorite 3 artists. At what point did these artists come into your awareness?

Mistake Bon Jovi Collage

 

Was it the first, second, or third record that you were turned on to them?

 

 

Here’s a real world example.

 

Mistake Greetings from Asbury Park

 

Regardless of your genre, LISTEN to the first Bruce Springsteen release, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. You’ll be interested to know that “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirit in the Night” were NOT initially handed in to Columbia by Springsteen with that record. Clive Davis heard the music and told Springsteen he wasn’t going to release the album because radio wouldn’t play any of those songs. He needed to record something that could be promoted on the radio or “The Boss” was going to get fired.

Under tremendous pressure, he wrote 2 more songs, with a little more melody, and clever, intoxicating song structures to stay in the game; “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirits in the Night”.

It’s no surprise that “Blinded by the Light” was first on the tracking list.

 

 

Still that record didn’t blow up, but Springsteen was onto something. He was really good and he was learning.

 

Mistake CoffeeHe was critically acclaimed but that didn’t pay the bills. All the critical praise and .10 cents was going to get him a cup of coffee in 1973.

 

 

 

 

 

Mistake Born To Run

 

Now listen to Springsteen’s 3rd release, Born to Run. Can you hear the artistic difference? Can you hear the refinement?

 

Make no mistake, he didn’t get there alone.

 

He was leaning how to write a better song.

 

He was learning how to make real records.

 

 

It’s not surprising that while the first 2 records were hugely important and critical in the journey, they were not popular, they were not commercially successful (meaning they didn’t sell).

Mistake Class Room

 

 

It was Born to Run that blew up the sales charts.

 

It was Born to Run that broke Springsteen.

 

 

 

 

Now I can hear you lamenting.

 

Yes, I can hear what’s going on in that head of yours.

 

You’re either thinking, “Well if I get my deal, then I’ll be surrounded by the people I can learn from, so I’ll just have to wait to get my deal.” OR your thinking, “Well, I can’t do any of that so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and something will change.”

Mistake Tactics

 

Believe me none of these tactics will get you anywhere.

 

The good news is it doesn’t cost $250k to make a record anymore.

 

You have it easier than Bruce Springsteen.

 

More good news! It’s SUPER EASY to target YOUR audience, connect with them, and begin creating real artist/fan relationships.

 

If you don’t know how to do it, you’d better learn or you’re wasting your time.

 

Mistake Kid LearningThe bad news is you’re going to have to change your thought process. You need MOST OF YOUR BUDGET FOR MARKETING, not recording.

 

If you keep spending all your budget on the recording process, you’ll keep getting the results you have always got.

 

Zilch.

 

You won’t expand your fan base.

 

Make no mistake, you have to learn to market your music.

 

If it’s good and you’re wondering why the world hasn’t caught on yet, it’s because they haven’t heard it.

Mistake Rock Concert

 

Cut your next recording budget by 80% by recording 80% less songs. Market the very best gems you record.

 

The world will catch on once they hear it, man.

 

Your audience is out there.

 

Make no mistake, your audience WILL NOT FIND YOU.

 

You will have to find them.

 

How exactly are you going to do that from you home town with no marketing?

 

Stay

In

Tune.

 

 

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20 Artists Prove Their Value First

Prove Your Worth

We are constantly hearing comments from up and coming indie artists like “I just need to get my deal [and then I’ll be successful]” or “If I could just get in front of the right person, I know I could be successful.” I got news for you, the record business doesn’t work like that anymore. These days it’s simply not enough to have talent, you have to PROVE that you’re worth it.

You have to PROVE that your art has value in the marketplace.Prove Show you are valuable small

 

In other words you have to create success for yourself before anyone of value or power will believe that you can generate revenue for them.

Do you see the naïveté in those comments?

You cannot intelligently approach this dream of yours thinking that someone else is going to make you a star.

Record labels are no longer developing artists, they are now buying small business and turning them into big businesses.

Prove Daredevil Production

The Daredevil Production, LLC business model is built around this fact. Kelly and I develop artists artistically and in the marketplace to help them become small profitable businesses so they will be more attractive to the big money players.

You can’t build your business model around a 20 year old music business model.  Yes, there are exceptions to the rule.

  • What intelligent business model is built around exceptions to the rule (A.K.A. winning the lottery)?
  • If you did win you would actually lose because your deal would suck so bad you might end up being a broke country star.

Prove National LotteryFYI, there were plenty of broke rock stars in the 80’s and it wasn’t because they were bad with money, it’s because they were rock stars making $400/week.

 

Pretty sad, huh?

 

Do you want your deal to look like this?

 

 

 

I got more news for you, even in the heyday of the record business, the “easiest” record deals came to the derivative acts.  The acts that were signed simply because the labels saw some quick money to be made with an artist that could capture a little Prove Iconicmarket overflow from a lane forged by an iconic trailblazer.

 

The game-changers, the icons we know today HAD TO PROVE THEIR VALUE IN THE MARKETPLACE because they were so different.

The story hasn’t changed much.

This statement is relative to every decade in the music business.Prove High Risk

No one wants to sign something that is different from what is happening right now on terrestrial radio because it’s too risky.

How do they know if the market will like it?

If a genre or artistic lane is getting a lot of love on terrestrial radio (like “bro-country” for instance) there is proof that the style is popular in the marketplace and therefore money to be made.

If you are different or new, in any decade, YOU would need to provide evidence that even though terrestrial radio is currently not playing your style, your music has VALUE in the marketplace.

 

Prove DIY

You are going to have to do this yourself.

 

 

 

 

Here are 20 artists who had to prove their music had value to get their record deals.

 

  1. Mötley Crüe – Nobody wanted to sign Mötley Crüe. They were too weird.  They created their own record label Prove Motley Crue Too Fast For LoveLeathür Records and self-released Too Fast for Love.  Mötley’s local popularity was so huge in 1981 that they sold 40,000 copies in Los Angeles alone.  FYI the wiki link says 20k but I’m pretty sure my sources are more accurate. 😉  These sales led to an Elektra Records deal in late 1982 where they remixed the Crüe’s debut record and re-released it. Mötley Crüe incarnated the glam-metal-hair-band genre of the 80’s.  Thank you fellas!
  2. Ratt – Since 1976 many self-financed singles, records, and live show recordings were being distributed to galvanize Ratt’s (previously Mickey Ratt) LA club following. This led to a Prove Ratt Out of the Cellarmeager indie record deal where they released the Ratt EP in 1983.  After 20,000 units sold that was enough to convince Atlantic Records that they had value. Atlantic released their debut full length record entitled Out of the Cellar in 1984.
  3. Bon Jovi – Jon worked at a shoe store while mopping floors at The Power Station Studios in NYC where he was granted access to the storied recording facility after hours. When did he sleep?  He recorded 50 + demos of Prove Jon Bon Jovi“Runaway”(one was produced by Billy Squier) and shopped them to the labels.  Nobody cared. At the time, Jon was also WORKING for WAPP “The Apple” writing and singing jingles.  DJ Chip Hobart asked Jon to include “Runaway” on a compilation record for the station (a move Jon was very apprehensive about) and that single became a huge “local” hit.  Local was NYC which was the #1 market in the country and that was enough proof to entice A&R rep Derek Shulman to sign Jon to Mercury Records.
  4. Skid Row – The first Skid Row record was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Prove Skid RowJack Ponti. Skid Row band members Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan were listed as writers for the purposes of street cred which was mission critical to hair metal bands of the 80’s. This record was entirely created and funded by Jon Bon Jovi after the Slippery When Wet album tour was finished. He had proven his skills had value in the marketplace. Even with all that power behind him (Bon Jovi was probably one of the top 3 acts in the country at that time), and the record completed, Jason Flom from Atlantic Records wouldn’t give Skid Row a deal until Bon Jovi agreed in writing to allow Skid Row to open every date on the upcoming New Jersey World Tour.  After that contract was signed guaranteeing massive exposure for the band, Flom gave them a $1,000,000 cash advance.
  5. Florida Georgia Line – FGL was developed by one of the most powerful and successful Nashville songwriters, Craig Wiseman. They were produced by multi-platinum engineer/producer Joey Moi.  All this power and marquis Prove FGL Cruisevalue and every label still said “NO”; they were too different.  They STILL had to prove they had value.  They exercised a relationship on satellite radio where “Cruise” became a smash hit.  Then they orchestrated an 8 month tour to support the single (privately financed) where they succeeded in selling 100,000 downloads of the single. The record didn’t change, the songs didn’t change, and the production didn’t change. The only thing that changed was the perception.  Every label then said “YES” and they signed with Scott Borchetta’s Republic Nashville label under the Big Machine umbrella.
  6. Zac Brown Band – Zac had been touring over 200 dates a year with an acoustic trio Prove Zac Brownsince 2002. Constantly writing and recording and shopping to record labels. They were “too pop” for all the country labels and “too country” for all the pop labels. While Zac was touring they were selling records, tickets and merch. They managed a small profitable ZBB business for 10 years which was enough proof to garner one of the sweetest deals in town which is really a Joint Venture between Zac’s own Southern Ground (formerly Home Grown) label imprint Prove Luke Bryanand Atlantic Records.
  7. Luke Bryan – reached success as a songwriter to prove his music had value. He penned the title track to Travis Tritt’s 2004 release My Honky Tonk History. Which helped him get a deal with Capitol Records.  Here’s the thing, while he was working on his debut album he managed to co-write Billy Currington’s #1 single “Good Directions” which certainly helped when it came time for the label to allocate promotional funds for Bryan’s debut record.
  8. Brantley Gilbert – Proved his music had value in marketplace by writing hit songs first. Prove Brantley GilbertHe had cuts like “The Best of Me” on Jason Aldean’s 2009 release Wide Open. This resulted in an indie record deal where he released his debut record that included “My Kinda Party” which became a #1 after it was re-recorded by Jason Aldean for his 2010 release of the same name.  Brantley’s 2nd #1 was “Dirt Road Anthem” co-written by country rap artist Colt Ford.  This effort led to Brantley’s deal on Scott Borchetta’s Valory label and insured proper attention to Brantley’s releases once he got his shot.
  9. Chase Rice – He co-wrote one of the biggest hits of the last 5 years “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line. BIG time proof his music has value.  Now he has a deal and a gold single with “Ready, Set, Roll”.
  10. Sam Hunt – He penned Kenny Chesney’s “Come Over”, Keith Urban’s “Cop Car”, and Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight” before independently releasing his own single. This led to a major label deal with MCA Nashville and his current #1 single “Leave the Night On”.
  11. Cole Swindell – wrote these songs to prove his music had value. Then he independently released “Chillin’ It” and THEN he got his deal with Warner Bros.Prove Cole Swindell
    1. Craig Campbell’s “Outta My Head”
    2. Luke Bryan’s “Just a Sip”, “Beer in the Headlights”, “Roller Coaster”, “Out Like That”, “I’m Hungover”, “I’m in Love with the Girl”, “Love in a College Town”, “Shore Thing”, “Shake the Sand” and “The Sand I Brought to the Beach”
    3. Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That”
    4. Scotty McCreery’s “Water Tower Town” and “Carolina Eyes”
    5. He also co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s “This is How We Roll” with Luke Bryan
  12. Lee Brice – Co-wrote Garth Brooks 2007 single “More Than a Memory” which was the first single in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart to debut at #1. He also signed his artist deal with Curb Records the same year. Coincidence?
  13. Ani DeFranco – Ani has been independent all along. She started her own label Righteous Babe Records at the age ofProve Ani DeFranco 18. She recorded everything on her own with an 8-track reel to reel and toured her ass off.  She put out 5 records from 1990-1994 before partnering with Koch International to distribute her 6th independent release Not a Pretty Girl.  Who knows how many major label deals she has turned down?
  14. Granger Smith / Earl Dibbles Jr. – These are both the same person. By independently writing, recording, and releasing records Granger Smith has utilized social media to create an empire that generates over $1.5 million dollars per year in revenue. This activity created the college football picks on-air position Earl Dibbles Jr. holds every Saturday with CBS.
  15. Jamey Johnson – He co-wrote the huge Trace Adkins hit “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” which garnered him a deal with BNA Records in 2005.
  16. Randy Houser – Co-wrote “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” with Jamey Johnson and Dallas Davidson for Trace Adkins in 2005. That proof of value led to a major label deal in 2008.
  17. Karmin – Proved that her talent had value in the marketplace by posting consistent YouTube videos of cover songs. Prove KarminThe breakthrough was her cover of “Look at Me Now” by Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, and Busta Rhymes. That video currently has over 93 million views and led to a record deal and a solid fan base.
  18. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Are the first duo in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart to have their first 2 singles go to #1, both without the support of a major label. The duo accumulated 613 million views of their video for “Thrift Shop” on YouTube. They currently have over 1.3 million subscribers on their YouTube channel.Prove Macklemore
  19. Noah – Posted a cover that he creatively manipulated to his own artistic lane on YouTube for 77 weeks in a row. He built a steadily growing subscribership until the 77th video which was this version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”. This video blew up and went viral.  Around 2 million views he started monetizing it.  Around 6 million views, he implemented a pop-up to direct viewers to his IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign where he was able to procure $100,000 for his first record.  He now has over 22 million views and a solid career.
  20. Thomas Rhett – is the son of hit singer songwriter Rhett Akins. Prove Thomas RhettStill, it took until he wrote “I Ain’t Ready to Quit” which was cut by Jason Aldean for his My Kinda Party album to prove his music had value in the market place which resulted a major label deal.

 

 

 

All these hit artists had to PROVE that their music was valuable BEFORE they got their deals or continue to prosper independent of major deals.

 

Nobody is going to come to your door and make you a star.

Nobody is going to risk their money on what you plan to do.

Major labels and big private money investors will only invest in your career based on your reputation.

You can only have a reputation based on what you have done, NOT what you are going to do.

Stay in tune.

 

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The Impeccable Artist

By Johnny Dwinell

Art is a craft and as a craft, I realize that there are 2 kinds of craftsmen.  Some are born with the innate ability to rise above all else with their art; they’re supremely gifted.  Most are born with the love and fascination for a particular art form and choose to follow it.

Craftsmen require mentorship to succeed at making a living, of any kind, with their art.

Here’s the key, both kinds of craftsmen require mentorship to succeed at making a living, of any kind, with their art.impeccable mentor definition image

For the artist prodigy born with the skill set to emotionally move people with their craft, they need mentorship on all the tasks that orbit around a career created by amazing art.  Just because they’re a born songwriter with a golden voice from God doesn’t mean the artist understands how exactly to make a record; which is different than recording.

It doesn’t mean the artist has an audio engineering skill set whatsoever.

It doesn’t mean the artist knows how to produce or make records

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt doesn’t mean the artist understands how to produce and it usually means they NEED a producer to foster them while they grow.

It also doesn’t mean the artist is excellent at executing the business side of a career.

Maybe artists shouldn’t have to.

I totally get that.

But one should definitely understand the concepts and cash flow of their business.  If you don’t someone else will; and they’ll be smart enough to know exactly what you don’t know.

Understanding and overseeing is one thing.

Doing the day to day is another.

If a business manager always has to get checks signed by the artist, it keeps them in line.  They’d better have a story for every vendor the artist doesn’t immediately recognize.file9581279077716

We have a few multi-platinum artist friends, some are more involved in the business side and some prefer to turn a blind eye.  It comes as no surprise to me that the artists who choose to turn a blind eye have many stories of getting screwed over and the business-minded artists have a different outlook.

Get it?

 

Here’s a link to the Beatles “Revolver press conference August 24, 1966 (this is just interesting and entertaining to watch, btw).  Notice how they put all the business questions onto their manager Brian Epstein.

Point of comparison: When Jon Bon Jovi finished the “Slippery When Wet” tour in 1987 he sold 12 million copies in the USA and had made about 93 million dollars from record sales, publishing, ticket sales, tour merchandise, etc. When the Beatles broke up in 1970 they had sold over 600 million records and each of them was worth about 10 million dollars (which equates to around 29 million each in 1987 dollars).

Yeah, man, read that again.impeccable slippery when wet

Bon Jovi is a businessman too.  The Beatles weren’t back then.

So many of you lament the business side of the music but as I mentioned In a previous article, if the word “professional” is valid in your music career, then commerce must exist. Since commerce is present in ALL professional careers, one should really know about it, yes?

If you’re a consummate artiste then you need to at least understand what goes on in the business and sign your own checks or you will almost certainly be pilfered.

Even Oprah says, sign your own checks.  How do you think she came to that realization?

Lastly, I want to share an exchange of ideas I had with a friend this past 2 days.  My friend is a good artist who has made the short list for our reality show. He was expressing frustration with the music business and the broken system.

It is broken.

It’s up to us to fix it; which means reinventing it.

He was wishing it would go back to where “Record labels took a chance on real artists and real artists didn’t have to be so self-promotional”.

I shared with him these thoughts.  Wishing for any label to go back to the old way is like wishing for Pennzoil to make pancakes; it’s not in their business model.

One of the biggest selling country records 10 years ago was Shania Twain’s “Up!” which sold around 12 million copies.  I believe Luke Bryan has the biggest selling country record last year and it was barely 2 million copies.

That’s only 16% of the sales from just 10 years ago.

How would you survive on 16% of your current income?

Then you factor in that each record sold generates 1/3 of the revenue it used to and you can clearly see that it’s not that the labels don’t want to develop talent, they can’t afford to.  So wishing for it or worse, planning on development from a label is setting yourself up for failure.

Labels want to buy small, profitable businesses and expand on the spark that was started by the artist and the art.

That means that even if you intend to pass all the business off to someone else tomorrow, you still need to learn to be a business person today.

Not-for-nothing, but learning that now will help you to keep an intelligent eye on it later.

 

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Johnny Dwinell

Johnny Dwinell Feature Image

Signature Strength Kidd GypsyJohnny Dwinell started out as an artist.

After touring for around 7 years he left the music business (tried to get out would be a better term) moved to Los Angeles to begin a long business career.  This career started led him to Aerospace manufacturing, circuit board design, and then to the financial industry. It was in the financial industry where Johnny applied his natural marketing ability to create an educational radio show for mortgage consumers that aired on 5 different radio stations in 3 different markets.

ry as he might, all his discretionary income was spent on his true passion, a home studio and developing artists in Los Angeles.

Johnny states, “Once the mortgage bubble burst, I realized that while I loved growing a company and a team, I hated mortgage consumers. They would all spend way more time researching a flat screen TV purchase than they would educating themselves on their mortgage. This was frustrating because I found myself having to sell consumers what they wanted (which was usually financially toxic) as opposed to what they really needed to be secure.”

He goes on to say, “I just thought to myself, I missed the music business and it needed help. Artists are so passionate about their music that they would be much more satisfying to work with. I was extremely interested in how to revive relationships between artists and consumers to spur record sales

 

Here are a few of the more notable projects that Johnny Dwinell has produced or developed.

 

 

Collin Raye

Collin Raye Everlasting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candygram For Mongo

Johnny Dwinell Candygram For Mongo

 

 

 

USA NETWORK Television Show “R U The Girl?” Audio Sweetening 

USA Network

 R U The Girl

 

Chris Mouch

Johnny Dwinell - Mouch EP cover

 

Check In The Dark

Johnny Dwinell Check In The Dark The Game

 

Neill Skyler (Artist/Singer/Songwriter/Actress)

Johnny Dwinell Neill Skylar

 

 

 

 

Jason Ashley

Jason Ashley Undeniable

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanya Marie Harris

TanJohnny Dwinell Tanya-Marie-Harris-ARTWORK 2ya-Marie-Harris-ARTWORK 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey James

BJ_digipak.final.indd

 

 

Song Demo Recording

Demo CD Feature image

Remember, a song demo is a demonstration of the lyric, melody, and vibe of a song. The intent is to demonstrate this song to A&R execs, producers, publishing companies, song pluggers, and ultimately artists for the purposes of getting a cut on a record.  This is a decidedly different audience than an Artist Track that is designed to impress consumers.

Daredevil Production offers all songwriters and publishing companies the highest level of sonic and artistic quality for their song demo needs.

We only utilize top session players and amazing professional singers to execute flawless performances in our world class recording facility at Ragtop Recording. Whether you are a publishing company, hit songwriter, a beginning songwriter, DDP will deliver awesome demonstrations of your songs at a competitive price. Of course, the Music Row studio location makes demo recording extremely convenient for all Nashville publishing companies.Professional Focus On Quality image Demo

Additionally, we have a super-cool ability to help amateur songwriters realize their vision and get a solid, industry standard song demo. So if you have ever thought of getting professional recordings of your songs, give us a call and we will show you what we can do.

 

Check out some “Before and After” recordings HERE to listen to the difference

 

Don’t worry if you only write lyrics!

Songwriting Brain is 70 percent LyricsWe often help lyricists put melody and music to their creations with a Work For Hire program that allows them to retain 100% of the rights to the song!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call us at 818-383-4207 to find out more!

 

Meanwhile here are a few articles to inspire songwriters

 

Songwriting and Songwriters

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It all starts with the song and therefore the songwriter.

If you need songs or if you would like to try and write with some of our hit songwriters, give us a call and we’ll set something up.