Tag Archive for: Clive Davis

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.




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?







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