Ignorant Boxers and Your Success In The Industry
I stumbled across a 3-minute video on my Facebook feed that was a compilation of nothing but Mike Tyson knockouts.
That kid was extremely talented. He just threw BOMBS! So many of those knockouts were in the first or second round with a single punch.
That got me on a boxing kick so I moved on the next video on this Vintage Boxing Facebook account and watched the knockouts in the most exciting matches from Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammed Ali, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran, Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez, Rocky Marciano, Evander Hollyfield, Jake LaMotta, Sonny Liston, and more.
Many of these knockouts were vintage, obviously, but the bouts from the 70’s and the 80’s usually had Don King standing right beside one or BOTH fighters.
For those of you who aren’t aware of Don King, he was one of the most successful boxing promoters on the planet. He was also one of the shadiest individuals ever.
Don (along with other historical fight promoters) was famous for finding boxers with promising talent but screwing them royally out of most of the money they could be making.
These boxing “diamonds in the rough” were gifted at a young age but they were from the ghetto so they were also broke, uneducated, naïve, and desperate.
The magic ingredients of boxing talent, naïveté, lack of education, extreme poverty, and despondency made all these guys easy prey for fight promoters. All they had to do was present them a briefcase loaded with $50,000 and a brand-new Cadillac. Now they felt rich and they looked rich so the kids and their mamas were happy and the neighborhood was impressed.
However, these kids, under the tutelage of promoters like Don King, would soon be able to fill venues like Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas with rabid boxing fans paying thousands of dollars for a ticket. The networks were happy to pay for the rights to broadcast these contests on national television creating millions more in revenue. Then Pay-Per-View cable TV became available and the price of poker went up again.
Some of the more famous talent became durable and lasted long enough to make some money for themselves but most didn’t.
Most boxers ended up broke because they didn’t have the wherewithal to learn the business and understand their value at that stage of the game.
King had a HUGE personality and was a genius at manipulating the media.
And the consumers.
And the talent.
And arguably some of the events.
This got me to thinking.
Where ever there is an ignorant boxer with a ton of talent, there is going to be a Don King standing beside him with one hand on the microphone waxing patriotically into the TV camera, “THIS IS A GREAT FIGHTER, I LOVE AMERICA!”
His other hand will always be in the Boxer’s pockets shaking him down for every dollar he can make.
Same is true for artists.
Right now, you’re the ignorant boxer.
This goes for almost all artists, by the way, even the rich and famous major label artists.
Yes, all artists are the ignorant boxer and the role of Don King will be played by companies like Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Slacker, all terrestrial radio stations, and all the record labels.
Superstars like Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, U2, AC/DC, etc. don’t know who their customers are. They know demographics but they don’t have the actual contact information.
But Spotify does.
iTunes does too.
So, they win. They get all the money. They’ll NEVER share that information either because If they did, they would become irrelevant. We wouldn’t NEED them, or at least the leverage would DRASTICALLY change.
Do you see why the contact information is so valuable? If it wasn’t valuable they wouldn’t care about sharing it.
Why don’t you think it’s that valuable?
All they’re doing is what the record labels and the artists won’t; collecting data and collecting subscriptions. They’re marketing like a modern day online business but labels and artists are Luddites bitching about the glory days and the way it used to be.
Labels don’t get it because it’s never been done that way. That’s the only reason. Even though EVERY other business is doing it this way outside of the music industry, they just won’t adapt.
Think about it. Amazon, Dell Computer, Apple Computer, your favorite grocery store, gas station, restaurants, airlines, and department stores all have your information and probably your credit card number stored; you know, for your convenience.
YOU do business like this every day, but you’re refusing to do business with your music like this.
What would the music business look like if all these iconic artists, and indies like you, had databases and knew EXACTLY who their customers were?
Gasp, what if all artists had their customer’s credit card numbers stored for them? It’s a simple freaking inexpensive plug-in on your website, but I digress.
Don King companies like Spotify would lose their power, maybe become irrelevant. What kind of deal would they need to make to get an artist to allow their music to be featured on their platform if all artists didn’t require their technology to reach the fans anymore?
Spotify doesn’t have a business unless they have traffic. They can’t get the traffic unless millions of people are looking for their favorite artists/brands. Spotify can’t represent the brands if they don’t have licensing agreements with the owners of the master recordings.
The record labels are in on the hustle.
You would vomit if you knew the VAST difference in revenue that the record labels collect per stream as opposed to the publishers and the songwriters.
It occurs to me that the boxers didn’t have a choice. They couldn’t target, connect, and grow their audience without characters like Don King.
But you can.
Still, you don’t.
While Don King was a puppet-master of the media, fans, and talent, you’re a creative genius at lame excuses.
You have the ability to connect directly with your audience, circumventing the proverbial Don Kings but you choose to tell yourself that you “don’t have time” or “don’t understand social media”, and “you hate marketing because you’re an artist”.
For this reason, you suffer. You’ll continue to suffer until your passion for the dream dries up with your artist soul.
Ugh, this is so preventable.
When ALL artists understand this simple fact, IF all artists understood this simple fact, it would be disruptive to companies like Spotify and record labels. Possibly even an extinction level event like what the internet did to the travel agencies.
The artists have art and therefore the fans. Their brands create the traffic. Until they learn to do for themselves, there will always be a Spotify or a label to do it for them and take all the money.
I cringe at the remarkably gifted artists, that want to get a deal but have no audience. WHAT IF THE LABEL SAYS YES?
You’re screwed is what happens. You get to tell your mom that you’re a signed artist and that’s super fun until you realize that your deal, PLUS $2.50, will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
That is until you get an audience.
Change the game and the relationships change. An artist doesn’t necessarily NEED a record label if they have an audience. Now the role of a label isn’t to create the audience, but to turn your bonfire into a proverbial forest fire. If the artist has an audience they have cash flow which means the risk to the label is significantly diminished.
The deal structures for new artists with a fan base will change to mimic the contracts the superstars have.
They’ll be more like JV’s (Joint Ventures) and partnerships rather than 360 record deals.
The bigger iconic artists have deals like this because THEY HAVE AN AUDIENCE! Still, even the best of the best remain clueless as to who that audience is exactly…but, again, I digress).
Today, you don’t need to be a superstar to come to the negotiating table with an audience. Assembling an audience means you have POWER and INFLUENCE in that deal instead of holding your hat in your hand hoping for the dream to come true.
THIS. This is the reality that I have been preaching for years here at Daredevil Production.
All the education you need, the tools you need, and the fans you want to reach are easily accessible from the device that you’re reading this article on right now.
Most of it is free.
Some of it costs money but most of you choose not to pay.
You’re buried in unimaginable debt from your student loans for an education that statistically will not serve you in the workplace, but you refuse to “risk” a couple hundred bucks to learn something that will help you in your dream?
I don’t get it.
How does that make sense?
What are you saving exactly when you forego an education that will actually help you?
If it was easy, everyone would be a rock star, but it’s decidedly NOT brain surgery either.
If you’re willing to fail a few times, learn, work, ADAPT, and persevere, you can connect with your audience and grow your fan base. They’ll lie down in traffic for you, defend you, support you, create fan accounts on social media, and LOVE you.
That’s a promise.
I’ve seen it.
And that’s what you want, right? Love?
It’s all right there at your fingertips but you’re currently letting or planning to allow the Spotifys and record labels take your money or worse, deny you the dream because “you suck at marketing”.
What kind of bullshit is that?
You suck at marketing because you refuse to take it seriously. It’s no wonder.
I’m always amazed at the ideas my artists come up with when they just start thinking about it.
Wherever there is an ignorant boxer with some talent, you’ll find a Don King ready to siphon every penny he can from that amazing work.
You get to choose.
But do us all a favor and just own it when you do. No complaining, ok?