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Danger & Opportunity

Danger Opportunity Feature image

Baron Rothschild, a 18th-century British nobleman and member of the Rothschild banking family, is credited with saying that “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.” By now, you must be aware that the music business is in a serious crisis. Yes, there’s blood in the streets. I think about this crisis a lot these days.

Crisis = Dangerous + Opportunity

Did you know that the Chinese word for “crisis” is made up of 2 characters: 1 means “danger” and the other means “opportunity”?Crisis Danger Opportunity image

That’s the way I think about the music business; danger and opportunity. The old music business required you make demos and connections until you could find a label that was willing to sign you and invest millions.

THEN you had to be really lucky again to end up in the 10% of signed artists that actually made money on said label. You heard me right, in the heyday of the music business, only 10% of the artists made money, meaning 90% of the signed artists lost money. The old music industry business model was beholden to what they call the “Tyranny of Space”. There was a finite amount of valuable shelf space to place your CD and an even more finite amount of radio spins allotted for new artists. That equates to the limited space of distribution and the limited amount of spins on the radio each hour. The old business model created situations where an artist who had a great record out, was charting in the top 20 on Billboard, touring like crazy, creating real momentum, essentially doing EVERYTHING right would often lose their deal because the label found another act in the same genre with a little more momentum and had to drop the prior artist due to the “Tyranny of Space”.

Huh?

Yeah man, there are only so many radio spins per hour so the label would (intelligently) put their eggs into the better basket Radio Airplay Danger Opportunity imageso-to-speak. THIS is the old model that is falling apart right before our eyes. Tragic to some I am quite sure but very necessary and I believe much better overall for the art and the artists who create it. As an artist, you have to be aware of the big picture to really see the opportunities that lie within the danger and chaos.

The new music business doesn’t suffer from the Tyranny of Space. The costs to make a record are much less expensive, there are no distribution issues because there is always room for one more CD on a server, and (most) social media is free. So as a developing artist, the velvet ropes are gone, the ‘luck of the draw’ has disappeared to a large degree. Now artists are really freed up financially, and in the marketplace to make their own way, to create a name for themselves on a worldwide basis.

As an artist, YOU now hold all the power to write music that YOU love, record it the way YOU want to, find your audience online, and sell it to make a living.Danger Opportunity YOU have the power image

YOU now have the opportunity to create a small profitable business that will sustain YOU and your family while doing what YOU were born to do; music.

As an artist, YOU now hold all the power to create your reality and prove to the world that there is a market for your specific music. Once YOU do that work, all the big money in the form of private investors and major record labels will find YOU.

YOU literally can change what “mainstream popular music” is going to sound like; you can change what the “suits” are willing to get behind.

Don’t believe me? Look at the Zac Brown Band and Florida Georgia Line. Whether you like these artists or not, they got deals after they created the buzz and sales on their own. This was after both acts were turned down by every label.

Mumford & Sons and Adele were also acts that forged their own way and STILL didn’t get major label deals (they Danger Opportunity Mumford and Sons logo imageboth have indie label deals). So it really can happen in a big way for you but you have to come to terms with the fact that

YOU will be responsible for making it happen.

YOU will have to put together the team that will take you to the next level artistically and in the marketplace.

YOU will have to create enough buzz to get the bigger money involved.

 

So how do you do it?

You have to start by understanding that the new music business now suffers from an equally abrasive oppression called the “Tyranny of Choice”. Have you ever eaten at a restaurant (like Jerry’s Famous Deli in Los Angeles orCheesecake Factory) with a ridiculously massive menu?? I was always apprehensive to eat at JFD because I could never decide what to eat! There were too many choices.

This is the current issue we need to overcome as artists, managers, labels, etc.how do you stand out? How do you rise above the noise on the RADAR screen and get the attention of the music consumers?

The answer is 10% making good music and 90% doing good business

The answer is 10% making good music and 90% doing good business. Most of you have that equation reversed; you Danger Opportunity Music Biz Now imagebelieve it to be 90% good music and 10% good business. If the latter were true, only good music would be on the radio. Think about that for a second.

YIKES

There’s your proof. Good business trumps good music in the marketplace. You can morally & artistically agree or disagree with this statement, but it’s true nonetheless. The sooner you get your head around that concept the more successful you’ll be regardless of your talent.

 

Bottom line is everybody can always improve. To be a successful business (which you have to be to succeed as an artist these days, like it or not) you need a good team, accurate information, and the drive to execute many little tasks that are crucial to your momentum.

You can grow your brand.

You can grow your audience.

You can expand your influence.

You can make a living making music.

Doesn’t that mean you’re successful?

 

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Good News For Indie Artists!

Good-News-Feature-image

How To Create A Killer EPK

EPK Feature Image

By Johnny Dwinell

These days a killer Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is becoming increasingly necessary as an effective, immediate method to demonstrate yourself as an artist to live venues, booking agents, PR firms, promoters, investors, labels, Lawyers, etc. A good EPK is tricky to put together mostly because artists get confused as to the intent of the EPK, who the audiences will be, and precisely how it will be consumed. Whether you want to believe it or not, whether you like it or not, a poorly or naively constructed EPK is a red flag that defines you immediately. If you want to look professional you better have a professional EPK. Lets define these formerly mentioned items and then Ill break down some solid, common sense strategies on how to create a killer EPK.

What is the Intent of Your EPK?

Intention EPK image

A good EPK is like a mission statement/business plan/band brochure for interested parties that are considering doing business with you. What an EPK is NOT intended for is ego stroking, Behind the Music type documentary content. All too often I see 30 minute long EPKs and they never get consumed when theyre that long, no matter how good the band isso dont waste your time. I promise you that your audiences will not waste theirs. Just think about your own time. Think about when a friend sends a video that is awesome or cool or funny and you see that it is 15 minutes long; you inevitably think ugh and pass on it or stow it away to watch whenever you get more time. I mean, would you watch a documentary of any length from a band you didnt know or are you far more interested in documentaries from bands you LOVE? Get my point?

Who is Your Audience?

 

Audience EPK image

Your audiences are professionals in the music business and they are not only crushed for time with their respective job requirements, but they also have families, private lives, other obligations, charities, etc. so you must respect their time. Your audiences are decidedly NOT consumers, fans, or groupies so they wont consume this material as such. Since the audience for your EPK is professional they are interested in if they can make money working with you and then exactly how that will happen. The more you can stick to business the better off you will be. Not for nothing, but the more you stick to business in your EPK the more professional you will look as well.

How Will Your EPK Be Consumed?

Consumed EPK image

Quickly!

They dont have time. Think of the time factor from their perspective; which means LARGE volume. If they need to experience 500 EPKs per week and they consume just 5 minutes of each EPK thats almost 42 hours per week and I promise you their job description requires far more than just viewing EPKs.

Get it?

They are going to view the most efficient summary of the content (called a One Sheet or Elevator Pitch) and decide if they will commit any more time from there. The bio is the LAST think they will consume and only if they have a slow week or the previous content in the EPK has simply enchanted them. Common sense says spend the time and limited budget on making sure the one sheet is awesome and leave the bio for last as most of your audiences will not to the bio even if they decide to hire you.

8 Points to Creating a KILLER EPK

8 Ball EPK image

Here are 8 essential points to assembling a super effective EPK. I will put them in order of importance the best that I can. I say this because different bands will be stronger with different points so you need to focus on putting your act in the best possible light. If your band is ugly, then photos are necessary but not what you want to lead with and so on.

  1. One Sheet A one sheet is the summary of everything about your act on one sheet. In the world of business plans this is called an executive summary. This is the first thing your audiences will see in your EPK but should be the last item you create for your EPK because you will need to view all the necessary components of your EPK to get a feel for strengths and weaknesses to create a potent one sheet that has sizzle. Your one sheet should have a few of the following items:
    1. A great photo
    2. Quick list of milestones/accomplishments
    3. Press quotes
    4. Contact info for:
      i. Band
      ii. Management
      iii. PR
      iv. etc
    5. Band member names and instruments they play.
    6. Links to your 2 or 3 most popular songs (dont attach anything or they wont get downloaded due to fear of viruses)
    7. Link to live video
    8. Link to press page on your website or links to a few choice reviews or press interviews, etc.
    9. Social Media links These should demonstrate your popularity on whatever social media sites you choose to be on.
    10. Check out a decent one sheet HERE
  2. Great Photo A photo is worth 1,000 words. Learn it. Live it. Love it. This is usually the first way in which you will communicate with your audience; thus, its THE most important way to communicate. GoodPhotography EPK image photos = more press. Bad photos = no press, no listens, judgments that you are unprofessional. Your photo immediately defines you; think about that for a second. If you were a hippie, folksy, organic, acoustic band you wouldnt take a photo in biker leathers and boots like a heavy metal band, right? HELL NO, it would give people the wrong first impression. BTW, up and coming photographers are always looking for good content so dont be afraid to ask for a deal, man! The worst thing anyone can say is no but if you serve it up like your band could add quality content with the photographers talent to the photographers portfolio, you just might get a deal. If you have friends that are a bigger act than you are, ask them to piggy back on a killer photo shoot. My band was shot by Princes photographer (3-rolls of film) with Princes make-up lady for just $600 because my buddy who had the budget was shooting with the photographer earlier that day and lined up a bonus deal for me. Here are some important points to remember:
    1. Your photo has to be awesome its the first line of communication!
    2. Dont waste time or money on a crappy photo.
    3. Dont use a friend to save money, use a professional
    4. Check out an example of a killer creative photographer HERE
    5. Check out an example of a killer live photographer HERE
  3. Press Press quotes offer social proof that you are making a dent in the music scene. This is what will get promoters excited to work with you. Do NOT put quotes in from friends or family as this will make you look unprofessional. More press = better no matter how small the periodical or blog may be. When you list the press quotes, list the most important press first and least important last, etc. If it is possible, provide the quote in the form of a hyperlink to the actual quote to offer a quick 1-click method to corroborate your story with the truth; again, think time constraints here. I would include:
    1. CD reviews
    2. Live Show Reviews
  4. Music Video – this is super important, especially for the live venues. If your audience is a booking agent for Music Videos EPK imagea live venue it stands to reason that they would want to see videos of you performing for a packed house, right? You definitely wanna show your band in front of a jam-packed house. If you dont have a big draw, then make sure you are in a super small club or a friends basement, LOL. If the club isnt standing room only get good angles so it seems like its crammed! Getting good talent to shoot your video can be a bit of a challenge. I recommend scouring your local universities for film students who are looking for some content. You can also check out a pretty cool website called Radar Music Videos. This web site puts directors all over the world with bands and their respective budgets. Pretty cool open source opportunity. Live videos show that:
    1. You can actually play live
    2. You have a draw
    3. Your Stage Presence
    4. Professionalism
    5. NOTE: dont show any overtly violent mosh pit shots, instrument destruction, etc. Its much easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
  5. MP3s Next I would put the music in there. Definitely do NOT attach mp3s as you will likely get most of your EPKs deleted due to fear of viruses. Simply provide links to 3 of your very best songs on your website, MP3 Audio EPK imageSoundcloud, Reverbnation, etc. Unless they are sporting some killer consumption statistics, I always advise our artists to link to mp3s on their own website as there are no metrics to judge how many people have listened. Perception is reality. Your EPK is not the place to put demos, or iPhone recordings or anything unprofessional. There is simply no excuse for sonically crappy recordings anymore so if you dont have good recordings you really dont need an EPK. You will be judged. Again, remember how many EPKs your audiences are consuming every week. Every other band is professional you had better be too. If you think because they are professional promoters that they are going to hear past crappy production you are nave.
  6. Gig/Tour Calendar – This is obviously important. The more gigs you have the more attractive you look. If you dont have a ton of gigs yet, dont put the calendar in the EPK. If you do have some pending dates make sure:
    1. The gigs are constantly up to date. Dont blow this off or you will look like an idiot. Consider listing a few shows in the EPK and a link to your tour/gig dates on your site.
    2. Define types of venues, frequency, etc.
    3. Remember that you are looking for appropriate venues, not to win over everybody.
  7. Social Media Links These demonstrate your marketing prowess and marketing momentum. These links will show how many fans you have and demonstrate how engaged they are. For instance, if you have 100,000 Twitter followers but all your tweets only get retweeted or replied to 5 times, there is a problem.
  8. Bio This bio should be short and sweet. Nobody cares about your whole story until youre famous. I thinkBio EPK image of the scene in the movie Bull Durham where Kevin Costner is preparing Tim Robbins for the major leagues. He says, Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win twenty in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win twenty in the show, however, it means you are a slob. Unless your story is super compelling AND famous I would stick to the basics. A bio should have the following:
    1. Where your based
    2. Short summary on your professional milestones/work accomplishments
    3. Band member names and instruments they play
    4. Nobody cares about your struggle

Conclusions

Here are some quick points to think about in conclusion:

  • You should always be looking at other peoples EPKs to keep up with the latest trends. Good artists borrow; great artists STEAL.
  • Keep your EPK short; no more than 5 minutes. An EPK is NOT A MOVIE; it wont be consumed as such. So keep a Directors cut to scratch your filmmaker itch if necessary but deliver a short, potent, EPK for business purposes; remember that all your audiences HATE reviewing EPKs so make it as painless as possible.
  • I recommend that your first draft have everything you want in it and then chunk it down to 5 minutes from there. If you have to make decisions on eliminating quality content, this is called a High Class Problem.
  • Constantly cultivate your EPK by replacing old content with more up-to-date substance.
  • Take higher profile gigs regardless of financial compensation to bolster the legitimacy of your EPK.

 

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There Is No EZ Button!

EZ Button 1 Epic Event Image

By Johnny Dwinell

The music business, like your life, is all about how much work you put into it.

There is No EZ Button!

Our personal and professional lives are shaped and determined by what we do consistently, not any one event. We work, or choose not to work, every day on our relationships, our jobs, and our dreams. Single, positive, epic 1 Epic Event imageincidents put emphasis on our momentum and feel really good, especially when we are truly prepared to take full advantage of the serendipitous event. Single positive epic incidents also happen when we are not prepared to take full advantage of them. These feel good and we feel validated, but they are short-lived and we gain little from them. Conversely, a single negative or devastating occurrence can temporarily spoil our forward progress but we continue on, we move forward, because we must. We still have to wake up, we still have to go to work, we still have to raise our kids. The show must go on! Our lives are no different from the music business.

There is No EZ Button!

Many of us are thriving at a job right now that we got because a friend referred us or made us aware of it. We got the opportunity because of our relationship and the job because of our talent and personality. Life is about relationships. The music business is no different.

There is No EZ Button!

Every day we go to work and perform our daily tasks to execute our job requirements. We would be FIRED if we told our boss that we were waiting for a big break which entailed someone coming in and doing our job for us. Our job is no different from the music business.

There is No EZ Button!

(What are your artistic daily job requirements? Just a thought.)

 

EZ Button Lottery imageYou work every day to create monthly cash flow because your landlord or your mortgage company will not wait for a big break in your life, like winning the lottery. Can you imagine? Yes Mr. Landlord, I understand I am 2 months late but you dont understand, I am super talented/lucky and I am going to win the lotteryTHEN I will pay you! Your housing situation is no different from the music business.

 

There is No EZ Button!

We have to raise our kids ourselves. Some of us really care about our kids, and as a result we are constantly trying to learn and improve our parenting skills. We are also learning from our kids and improving as humans from the time spent. Some of us dont give a shit and those kids will grow up to be terrorists. Raising kids requires constant attention and consistency. Raising kids is no different from the music business.

There is No EZ Button!

Every one of us has had to deal with a terrible loss: a family member, a friend, a lover, a band member. It hurts. We loved them. Losing a loved one is no different from the music business.

There is No EZ Button!

One of the hardest lessons any of us has to learn is how and when to let a friend go. Its extremely difficult to shift gears in a long-valued relationship when the other person stops bringing any value to it. The music business is no different.

There is No EZ Button!

The very first day on our job, we were a rookie and we felt vulnerable and certainly uncomfortable because every EZ Button First Day Imagejob feels foreign on the first day. We went the second day because we had faith we would learn, we had faith it would get better with time, we had courage! Now we OWN our job. Now we are a valued member of the team. Now, we have mastered our exact job description, daily requirements, office politics, upper management assholes, insubordinate underlings, glass ceilings, self-solving IT issues, software workarounds, where to park, where everyone eats, who needs schmoozing, who needs to be left alone, the sharks, the dolphins, and all the little things we do that help us excel. The music business is no different from our current job because it entails all these things.

There is No EZ Button!

EZ Button Every Time You Spend Money image

To get any decent paying job we have to spend money. We spend a lot of money on a college education, clothes, tools, power tools, trucks, cars, qualified leads, advertising, supplies, continuing education, child care, transportation, travel, paid coaching seminars, trade shows, technology, etc. The music business is no different from any other business because it costs money if you want to do it right.

There is No EZ Button!

An ungodly percentage of us have received a degree, and while it helped qualify us for our current job and maybe taught us to think (maybe!), we dont use our degree to make a living. Those of us who do use our degree and those of us who dont use our degree realized the first day we got our job that we didnt know anything. We realized it takes WAY more than school to be good at what we do. The music business experience is no different from your job experience.

There is No EZ Button!

EZ Button Dent in the Universe imagePeople judge/evaluate us at our current job, even its a menial job. Were perceived somewhere on this continuum: as a rock star who always excels, as a mediocre worker who never rocks the boat, or as a lazy one who lingers at the bottom, skating by, always about to get fired. Our artistic dream of creating a dent in the Universe reflects the exact same work ethic. No matter the job: if its worth doing, its worth doing well! Of course, the music business is no different. We will be judged and evaluated.

There is No EZ Button!

We enjoy being with our friends and (sometimes) with our family because we love them and they are a great hang. We work at deepening these relationships by providing value or we ignore these relationships and constantly float on their periphery. We despise time spent with people who steal our energy and suck up all the air in the room; we avoid that scene at all costs. The music business dynamic is no different. So, be a great hang, not someone who sucks all the energy out of the room.

There is No EZ Button!

We all need love. We all need to be loved. All of us have had romantic relationships that were complete disasters. From this point we either choose to be a victim and wallow in the sorrow & despair or we choose to learn and move past it. We can choose to grow. Those of us who choose to learn and grow realize that we were partly responsible for the tender wreckage regardless of how it manifested itself or in spite of getting screwed. We choose to be accountable for the mess. Then we move on and try again because we all need love. We all need to be loved. We decide to be bitter and closed off, willing to be vulnerable again, or we learn to be willing to be vulnerable again. Love is always a risk. Still, we do it, dont we? The music business is no different from your love life; its COMPLICATED!

There is No EZ Button!

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What’s In Your Toolbox?

By Johnny Dwinell

What’s in your toolbox?  What’s in your emotional toolbox, your artistic toolbox, your business toolbox, your marketing toolbox?

Huh?

I used to have a huge fear of commitment.

OMG, what??

Years ago after I got off the road as the lead singer for a hair band I realized I was having challenges creating relationships with file6161313070963women that were deeper than just sex.  I was really worried that I would end up old and alone with a house full of cats (LOL, I’m TOTALLY a dog person, but you get the point).  As you can imagine after a good 7 years as a full time 80’s-rock-band-front-man-on-permanent-tour, I had encountered many women. I also managed to experience some longer, emotionally profound relationships with a few quality women who I found intriguing, smart, and captivating; but still, scared to commit. Yikes!

 

I definitely needed some help so I sought out therapy at the brazen request of a freshly-fired girlfriend who assumed she was leaving Nashville with me to move to California (I still don’t know how the hell she thought that, man, it wasn’t like we were living together or dating that long, but I digress).  She actually handed me a number of a therapist in Pasadena (SO RANDOM) and sternly told me to call him the minute I got out there.

I did call him and I recommend therapy for everyone.  Therapy is like college for your own soul. Therapy is all about finding out who YOU are and feeling comfortable in your own skin; which I desperately needed.  This therapist, Stan, was amazing and is still a great friend and spiritual adviser to me.  During the first session he asked me why I was there and I explained.  As the session ended he said, “Johnny, I’m gonna bet that you don’t have sisters or if you do, they are younger and by at least 4 years.”

I said, “WTF??  How do you know that?” (Not expecting the fortune telling element at all…he was right, I have 2 amazing sisters 4 years and 7 years younger than me)

He replied, “Because you don’t know shit about women.”

I laughed out loud at the silly man!  “Stan, I have forgotten about more women than most men will ever have.”

Stan countered, “Yeah, I’m sure that’s true, man, but you still don’t know shit about women so you’re scared to death of getting too close to them.”

Game! Set! Match!

I was cornered with logic. He went on to explain that a boy with older sisters or sisters who are closer to his age (close enough that they are in his social/peer groups growing up) offer a front row seat to the trials and tribulations of romantic relationships from the female perspective that said boy is more inclined to respect, internalize and learn from.  When the sisters are younger and out of your peer group they are just a nuisance.assorted_tools

True story again!

I was essentially lacking a tool in my emotional toolbox and I had just defined exactly what tool was missing.  You see, that was half the battle.  Now I could move forward with a clear plan to improve my life.  Identifying the missing tool actually got me excited to learn about the ever fearful unknown.  I was totally stoked to explore, which lessened the fear of the unknown.  This internal encouragement couldn’t have happened had I not understood that I was lacking somewhere.  Get it?

You Have To Find the Missing Tools In Your Toolbox

As humans and especially artists we are (hopefully) inclined to constantly improve.  We want, need, and search for new steps in the staircase of development that lead us to higher plateaus of emotional and artistic impeccability.  However, this requires change to occur.  As humans and especially artists, we are quite resistant to change; this results in pain and suffering.  This pain and suffering causes stagnation, idle artistry, and (gasp) mediocrity!

The thing is, our lives and our art can be constantly improving if we understand one simple concept; you’re human so you never have all the tools you need.  I find this to be a common roadblock with the talent we work with as they have a naive understanding of (or simply ignore) the process of artistic development; it IS A PROCESS and it takes time.

The main part of the process is to be open to the process.

Part of the process is to understand your strengths and capitalize on them.Toolbox process image

Part of the process is to recognize your weaknesses and improve upon them.

Part of the process is unfettered exploration; the constant search for tools you don’t have and the curiosity to discover how they will benefit your journey.

Part of the process is to identify mentors.

Part of the process is to allow yourself to be mentored artistically, businesswise, relationship-wise, marketwise, communication-wise, etc.

Part of the process is humility.

Part of the process is acceptance.

You are born with some great tools. Maybe you have incredible talent, maybe you have incredible drive, maybe you’re an expert politician, maybe you’re a good leader, maybe you’re good at creating relationships, and maybe you understand business.

But you don’t have all the tools.

What are you missing?

Do you need:

  • Business acumen?
  • Marketing expertise?
  • Vocal lessons?
  • Recording experience?
  • Better people-skills?
  • Communication skills?
  • Songwriting proficiency? (It’s not magic it’s a CRAFT!)
  • Stage presence?
  • Attitude adjustments?
  • Ego check?
  • More practice?
  • More knowledge?
  • Focus?
  • Clarity?

So which ones are you missing?

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5 Ways To Find Artistic Courage

Artistic Courage feature

By Johnny Dwinell

 

cour·age

[kur-ij, kuhr-] Show IPA

noun

1.   the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this definition of courage that I pulled from Dictionary.com.  I know I am quite courageous; however I have never been without fear.  I have never taken a huge risk in any aspect of my life, whether it be business-wise or artistically, without some level of fear.  What I chose to rely on was my gut instinct, some intelligence on the risk factor (aka a plan of some sort), and my ability to execute job requirements needed to move forward; but never fearlessness.  I also know for a fact that every brave act, if articulated honestly by the doer, was not without fear, there was some greater cause or duty that had to be done that overrode the “Fight or Flight” mechanism of the Reptilian part of our brain.  Therefore, I would redefine courage (and artistic courage) as the bravery or ability to move forward and experience difficulty, danger, pain, etc., in the face of fear.

Artistic Courage

Courage is simply mission-critical for any artist; I just don’t see how any art can be created and ultimately shared without some level of artistic courage.  The first sign of artistic courage presents itself when we first get onstage in front of people; we are absolutely vulnerable at that moment.  We are courageous when we let anyone listen to our songs as they are our thoughts, feelings, secrets, our TRUTH; again we are vulnerable.  We are quite vulnerable in the face of some kind of perceived judgment on our songs and/or lyrics by critics, or industry professionals.  Some artists deal with this necessity for courage well, and some suffer incredibly every time they need to be courageous, but they still show up.  The artists we know and admire must be courageous otherwise we simply wouldn’t know about them, right?

I think, to a degree, we are all capable of artistic courage but some of us need a little support and momentum to begin really believing; in ourselves, which will ultimately be interpreted in our art.  I truly believe that winners, to be successful, MUST read because knowledge is power; so empower yourself.

Here are 5 ways to jump-start your artistic journey and build up a little more courage, by reading them and then considering some different perspectives on life, work, and the huge undertaking of our artistic efforts.  If you ask around your inner circles, you will probably be able to get your hands on most of these.  If you can’t, I have included links to Amazon so you can get started right away.

 

“The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Guide To Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron–

Artistic Courage Artists way imageThis is a book, actually a program of sorts, and when you purchase it you must also get a blank journal; all total about a $25 investment.  When it was presented to me, I was told, “Don’t start this until you can commit to the whole program of 12-weeks”.  It was one of the most amazing journeys of my life.  It requires about 1 hour a day where you write your “morning pages”.  This exercise of writing 3 pages per day essentially teaches you to “get out of your own way” artistically and shut off the censorship component that we all have inside of us.  I LOVE this book and require every one of our artists to read/participate in it.  Every writer here in town has gone through this program and they all speak highly of the experience.  You can purchase this book in any big retailer like Barnes & Noble as they usually have them in stock; it’s pretty popular.  I have provided a link HERE to get it online.  Remember, get the blank journal too!

 

“The Craft of Lyric Writing” by Sheila Davis –

This book was recommended to me by a Artistic Courage The craft of lyric writing imagefriend back in 1995 who is now a serious hit songwriter.  Again, this book is revered by so many top writers it should be issued to any aspiring songwriter/artist; and YES Kelly and I require all our artists to read it.  I remember finishing this book and completing about 20 or so songs that had been “on the shelf” so-to-speak.  I had been shoving “10 pounds of sand into 5 pound bags” because I was trying to add sections to these songs where the structure didn’t require these sections.  Once I learned about all the different kinds of song structures, it was like an epiphany of sorts.  BOOM!  They all got finished.  I hope you have a similar experience.  This book isn’t as popular as The Artist’s Way so it typically isn’t stocked in the bookstores.  I recommend purchasing it online.  You can get it HERE total investment is about $18.00

 

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Steven R. Covey –

This book has been a best seller for decades.  It was published originally in 1989 and has sold over 15 million copies; because it will change your life!  Think of this book as a tool box for learning how to take care of business and stop procrastinating; then apply these lessons to your artistic endeavors.  HERE is the Amazon.com link.  Investment ranging from $3-$7.  Book retailers will almost always have a copy in stock as well.

 

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill –

This is NOT a book about getting “rich” per se.  Artistic Courage Think and Grow Rich imageNapoleon Hill was commissioned to write this book by steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie back in 1908; it was subsequently published in 1937; that was a 29-year research and writing project.  Andrew Carnegie granted Napoleon Hill access to hugely successful business men like himself, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, etc. to find out if there were similar traits that made these people more successful than others; and as it turns out there were.  This book is about eliminating negative energy, honoring your imagination, positive thinking, persistence, and several other common traits that contribute to success no matter what your line of work is.  This was an amazing read that is just as relevant today as it was when it was originally published 76 years ago.  You should probably be able to pick this up just about anywhere.  HERE is the Amazon.com link.  Total investment $9.67

 

“The Power of Positive Thinking” – by Norman Vincent Peale

Best quote: “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Artistic Courage The Power of Positive Thinking imagePerhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”  I think that about sums this book up, don’t you?  My translation you may recognize, creativity is like cooking pasta, throw the spaghetti against the wall, if it don’t stick, KEEP COOKING!  HERE is the Amazon.com link brand new paperback for $7.47

 

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6 Songwriter Business Strategies

Songwriting Business Strategies feature

By Johnny Dwinell

When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” – Italian Proverb

Songwriter Business Strategies Chess Box image

This can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me, in a way, it means that life is just a game and we are all relatively equal players who are capable of creating our own futures. As long as we believe we can achieve. As David Lee Roth so eloquently put it, “Life is a full contact sport; nobody gets out alive.” Then we all go into a box when it’s over. So this game requires strategy, some serious, deep, thought followed by action to play it like a king as opposed to a pawn. One of the things I like about professional chess competitions is the timer; it requires action.

So what is your strategy? It’s amazing to me how easy it can be to put together a winning strategy when you have accurate information and common sense.

My next question would be what action will you take to execute this strategy? The timer in your game is ticking; make a move.

The good news is that in the entertainment industry, strategy and action are more important than your talent; thatSongwriter Business Strategies Chess Timer image is to say, a killer strategy and the fearlessness to take action are often THE most important talents an artist possesses. I’m quite sure you all have a few examples swimming around in your head right now of hugely successful artists that you feel have zero talent; you know I’m right. Now you know why. It is a fact that when Kelly and I are considering talent to develop, we will take a mediocre talent with unstoppable drive and massive work ethic over some artist with a HUGE talent who is lazy and wants to press the “easy” button to succeed.

 

I’ve compiled 6 steps that songwriters can use to create a real strategy for success.

 

Strategy 1:

Always be writing with no censorship; never pump the brakes on the creative flow of ideas. After you fill up 3 pages Songwriter Business Strategies No Censorship imageof possible lines, then you go back and pick or cultivate the strongest lines to put them together in your song, but you never censor before you put pen to paper. Always be writing because writing is a muscle that needs to be developed. The more you work it out, the stronger it gets. I highly recommend that you purchase The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Don’t let the “Spiritual” part of the title scare you; there is nothing religious in there. This book offers up a 12 week program that will teach you to get out of your own way artistically when it comes to writing. The link I provided is one retailer, you can find this book anywhere so I provided one link to get you started. J

 

Strategy 2:

You should be writing with as many different people as possible. Common sense says that the more people you workSongwriter Business Strategies Co Writing Session Image with the more your circle of influence will expand; consequently so will your rolodex. In other words, more people are going to hear your work, which creates more opportunities for your songs on an exponential level. You will always pick up different little tools from different writers that will help your productivity in a writing session.

 

Strategy 3:

Go Where the Food Is – If you are trying to be a serious songwriter from Des Moines, IA, then the talent pool is Songwriting Business Strategies Sam Kinison understandably going to be shallow; again, common sense. I know this is true because all the serious writers from Des Moines live in LA, NYC, or Nashville.

Why don’t you? After all, this is where the business is happening. One can’t go shark hunting in Des Moines, because there are no sharks, right?

 

Strategy 4:

Songwriter Business Strategies Always Someone imageWrite with people who are better than you. You need mentors to mentally expand your grasp on the craft of songwriting; and it is a craft. These mentors will mentally expand your understanding of the business end as well. If you are working with people who are not as serious about the work as you are, you have stopped moving forward. You have to set up your game to achieve momentum. I promise you will not achieve momentum through the mail.

No publisher is going to hear the song you sent in and call you in your little town to deliver the good news; this is a fairy tale, not real life. In real life, ANY progress in ANY industry is built on relationships. All Ford automobiles come with Firestone tires because of a 100 year old relationship between Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. Relationships with other writers, with publishers, with music supervisors, with artists, with producers, with label executives, etc, are what is going to create opportunity and momentum for you. BTW, publishers are no longer developing writers just like labels aren’t developing talent. That was 10 years ago. The only way anyone gets a publishing deal these days is if they have some sort of social proof that their songs have value in the marketplace, i.e. a hit song. Before you get yourself a hit, you are not going to get a publishing deal.

 

Strategy 5:

You need to write with as many artists as possible. Be a student of the game. Think like a king, and you’ll play like a Songwriter Business Strategies Student of the game imageking. Thinks like a pawn, and you’ll play like a pawn. Record labels are not developing talent because they are no longer making money on the records. Labels need other revenue streams. Back in the 90s, artists like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Garth Brooks, who didn’t write their own material, could exist and thrive on a major label because the labels made millions off of record sales. If you really look at country music in the last decade you will see that all the newer successful acts write or co-write their own material (Lady A, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Brantley Gilbert, Jamey Johnson, etc.). Major labels have gravitated towards this business model of signing artists who write or co-write their own material because they can demand publishing from an artist who has it to give. Thus, labels create a very important revenue stream that is integral to the 360 record deals.

Creating real relationships with up-and-coming artists is now the way you are going to break yourself as a songwriter. Hell, it’s the way many artists like Jamey Johnson have broken themselves, through writing hit songs with other artists. Does this make sense? You want one of those artists to get some traction with your song; it just takes one and then everyone in town will think you mean money.

 

Strategy 6:

Be realistic and aware of the market you are writing for; a KILLER song where the lyrics are outdated is not going to Songwriter Business Strategies Market Awarenessget any attention because those lyrics aren’t currently selling. For instance, country songs in the 90’s were very story oriented like Tim McGraw’s Don’t Take the Girl. in the first verse the boy is 8 years old, in the second verse, he’s 18 years old, in the last verse he’s 23. Compare that to one of Tim’s more recent hits, One of These Nights, and you can see a definite change in the lyric style. These styles trend like anything else and staying on top of the trends will help you increase opportunities for your songs. The fact is while Don’t Take the Girl was a #1 hit in the 90s, it wouldn’t fly in today’s market.

People will always tell you that you need to get lucky, even hit writers in this town will say that. The reality is that Songwriting Business Strategies Prep Plus opp imagethose hit writers and you will have created their own luck. Have you ever heard the old adage “the harder I work, the luckier I get”? Luck is defined as: preparation meets opportunity. Strategically speaking, you need to ensure that you are not only preparing, but preparing intelligently, i.e. moving forward and learning from good professionals. If you position yourself in an environment that is rife with opportunity, your day will come; you’ll get the lucky opportunity and be prepared with the perfect song to take advantage of that opportunity!

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6 Ways to Create Cashflow On YouTube

Create Cashflow On YouTube spicket image

By Johnny Dwinell

Josh Rice is a monster on YouTube. He is having a hell of a time doing what he wants and loves to do; making music and writing songs. He started posting songs on YouTube in 2009 and has grown that initial artistic spiritual risk into a regular business with at least 5 or 6 cash registers that when combined, make him a decent living.

Wanna give a shout out to Jason Jerzewski for turning me on to this. THANK YOU! LOVE IT!

I just watched this video of Louis Howes interviewing Josh about how he is making a living as a writer and a musician on YouTube; HE BREAKS IT ALL DOWN MAN. He starts from the beginning and lets us all in on what he had to do to INVENT this future of his. I LOVE this kid!!! FYI, Josh doesnt know squat about the internet, HTML, coding, etc., hes just a singer and a writer.

This means you can do it too.

Heres the video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxfRqNvI-sw&feature=youtu.be

I dig that hes not waiting around to be discovered.

I dig that hes not letting the disintegrating music industry become a speed-bump on his journey to artistic success.

I dig that hes INVENTING his own future as an artist!

This is what YOU need to do.

Too many of you are not grabbing the bull by the horns here. You are basing your future on the dying business model of the old record industry. You dont need a label, you dont need to be discovered, you dont need to wait for your big break; you just need to write and/or sing! JUST DO IT. Create your own artistic business. Build it and they will come! Josh Rice is proof that this is really possible! I love how Josh was raised in Washington State, and moved to New York City, then Los Angeles, before ultimately landing in Nashville to pursue his musical dreams; he wasnt afraid. In the new music business, artists careers will be built from the bottom up, not the top down. Its a harder road, but the reward is the journey.

Look, I KNOW how artists think, so if your success as an artist or writer is dependent on ANYTHING that you feel is outside of your control, you are consciously or subconsciously using that as an excuse to wait; to protect yourself from the unknown. Think about it. Yeah, now you are admitting to yourself that you really need not wait for anything or anybody.

This video INSPIRED me, man! I LOVE IT when somebody pulls the curtain back on all this new Wizard of Oz shit and shows us how they succeeded.

This video interview is 43:45 long and if you want to be a player at all you should watch the whole thing. Partly because the information is so vital to your artistic success, but MOSTLY because this Josh Rice is so much like you and me!! This kid is just using a little fearlessness, hustle, and common sense to make a living with his music. If he can YOU CAN TOO!

Again, you should watch the whole thing because its worth it, but I broke down some of the key points for yall if your pressed for time.

4:50 he gets into collaboration with other huge YouTube stars and how that helped him grow a following. Remember when I said you need to surround yourself with people that are smarter and farther along than you? Boom! This is a perfect example of how that helps you flourish.

7:30 Josh discusses how many times he was rejected by some of these YouTube stars and how that was good karma. He CONTINUED to create relationships.

9:20 he discusses how he had to learn everything. He goes into how his first videos werent even synced with the audio so they sucked but he didnt care, he just kept on getting BETTER. He learned the audio program by himself and actually took an online course to hone his video editing/production skill-set.

11:05 he reveals numbers. He talks about his subscriber numbers and how many views he has had.

11:38 he discusses how his goals changed once he got into working his plan. I huge reason was that he kept writing songs and they were being hacked. So he changed his plan to adapt to problems that were occurring.

16:00 REVENUE STREAMS Josh discusses the different revenue streams he has created and how none them look very pretty by themselves, but put together he is able to make a good living. Those revenue streams include:

  • iTunes sales of his own music
  • iTunes sales of covers that he has licensed.
  • Ad revenue from the hits on YouTube
  • Streaming revenue
  • Merchandise Revenue
  • Mechanical Royalties from the cover songs

22:44 Josh Discusses how he was able to obtain more traffic to his videos.

24:00 He discusses how he did it RIGHT. The YouTube, Twitter, and Google algorithms are constantly evolving so the old tricks of putting porn keywords into the metadata no longer works. The key is to put out REALLY GOOD material! That will go viral.

25:25 Keywords process / promotion strategies

28:00 Website to drive traffic.

29:10 Psychology behind driving clicks

30:00 How often he is posting videos

31:10 Approaches to building a brand and working on YouTube.

36:30 Strategies behind likes, comments, favorites, and subscribing.

39:20 Related videos, gaming the system, all this doesnt matter anymore with search rankings.

40:30 How YouTube is ranking now.

Hope this provides some inspiration for Y’all!

BE FEARLESS!!

 

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You Don’t Need Radio To Make A Living

radio on the air image

By Johnny Dwinell

Terrestrial Radio is a hustle; it always has been and you don’t need radio to make a living. If you think that radio and the people who work for radio are in the music business you are sadly mistaken; they are in the ad business, just like the Newscasters. They PAY to spin every song; they get paid by selling ads. Remember that because they dont, nor have they ever given a shit about your music. Whats more is the ability to get a NEW single on the radio is all about relationships and money. Since DJs are no longer in charge of what is being spun, you have to go pretty high up on the mega corporate food chain to get to the PD that will convert your single and authorize spins.

The hustle started back in the 50s oddly enough with the invention of the TV set. Radio moved from dramatic programming to a top 40 music format. Consequently DJs exploded around the country as more and more music was being produced. Shortly after this happened, we got the Payola Scandal. Record promoters, working for record labels, had DJs in their back pockets offering Drugs, booze, and broads to the DJs in exchange for a guaranteed amount of spins. The subsequent scandal arose after the disgrace of the rigged game show 21 (You may remember the movie Quiz Show about this particular scandal). Once the Government was under public pressure for the dishonorable game show behavior, the radio outrage was next on the congressional agenda. The problem with payola for huge record companies like CBS was that CBS also owned radio stations and TV stations; which required massively lucrative broadcasting licenses. When the government threatened to pull the broadcasting licenses from any station accused of payola, these corporations had to change their strategies; after all, the record labels only accounted for maybe 3% of the gross corporate revenue. So, DJs like Alan Freed (who coined the phrase Rock & Roll) were fired for being a threat to the corporation along with any promoters who worked for the labels. Payola didnt go away. It just morphed into a 3rd party company system or Independent Promotion instead of all inclusive of the record labels.

Radio Promotion

At one point in the late 70s, a group of independent radio promoters named The Network came into serious power. Frank Dileo and Joe Isgro headed up this group of 6 guys who essentially controlled all the radio spins in the country. At one point CBS found that they were paying The Network 30% of their profits per year!

How?

The majors averaged $100,000 per single to The Network to promote them on the radio nationwide; thats $100,000 of 1983 money which is worth roughly $385,000 today. CBS was giving so much of their profits to these 6 guys they hired Peter Asher from Polygram to get rid of The Network in either 1978 or 1979 in order to bring the books back in line and increase profits. This is when the Major labels figured out that the power of The Network didnt lie in their ability to put a single ON the radio; rather it was their capacity to keep a single OFF the radio. This was grossly proven to Dick Asher and Walter Yetnikoff at CBS with the Pink Floyd record The Wall. If youve heard the record you know that its epic! What you may not know is that Pink Floyd recreated the movie on the tour and because of the massive production expenses they only played LA and NY. Imagine Peter Asher getting a call from the manager of the biggest band in the world, 30 minutes before the LA concert was to commence asking,

WHY THE FUCK AM I NOT HEARING OUR SINGLE ON THE RADIO, PETER??!! DO NOT FUCKING MAKE US YOUR EXPERIMENT WITH RADIO PROMOTION!! YOU HAVE 500 ARTISTS AND WE ONLY HAVE ONE CAREER!! IF I DONT HEAR THAT FUCKING SINGLE ON THE AIR IN 20 MINUTES, WE WILL BE LOOKING FOR A NEW RECORD LABEL!!

Boom! 1 phone call was made and a huge check was cut. Another Brick in the Wall was on the air in less than 20 minutes. Holy Shit!

This is what Pink Floyd had to deal with and they were the biggest band in the world at the time.

You still have to pay to get your music on the radio today. Decent nationwide radio promotion is going to run you about $20,000-$50,000 per month. There are a limited number of spins available in a 24 hour period so you have a simple VERY low supply meets a VERY high demand situation; in the free market, that costs a lot of money.

Are you aware of the story behind Guns & Roses? Would you freak out if I told you that they were dead? They were DOA from Geffen records. Radio hated them. Nobody cared. You may not know that Appetite For Radio Appetite For Destruction imageDestruction actually came out in 1987. It was out for a full year with NOTHING to show for it. The band had a HUGE champion in Tom Zutaut their A&R guy. Essentially, Zutaut went to David Geffen and explained the challenges he was having with MTV not spinning GNRs 1st single Welcome To The Jungle. Zutaut asks Geffen to do something, or the record is surely going to die. Geffen then gets on the phone and calls the President of MTV and asks for a favor; please spin the 2nd single for GNR called Sweet Child O Mine at least once for me. MTV acquiesces and spins the single at 3:00 am on a Saturday morning; and the rest is history. The phones at MTV lit up that Saturday morning and MTV broke GNR; then radio came on board.

Wow! Can u imagine? After all the work you have to do to get a record deal, you have to lower yourself down into this sleaze.

radio Thriller imageAfter The Network did such a good job of promoting Michael Jacksons Thriller, Michael made Frank Dileo his manager. Sheryl Crow was Michaels back-up singer on that tour. There are 2 references to Frank Dileo on Sheryls debut record Tuesday Night Music Club. The first is in The Na-Na Song with the line “Clarence Thomas organ grinder Frank DiLeo’s dong / Maybe if I’d let him I’d have had a hit song.”The second is the song called What I Can Do For You where the whole song is about Frank. What I can do for you, no one else on Gods green earth can do you can read the rest of the sleazy lyrics HERE

 

You get my point? Total hustle, totally expensive, ZERO guarantees.

Why would anyone in their right mind want to submit to this when you have a mathematically predictable way of making a living with your music online? I mean this is why the labels have a 90% failure rate because they all relied on ONE MAIN METHOD for exposure.

Do you want a 90% chance of failure? HELL NO!! Why would you when its NEVER BEEN EASIER TO MAKE A LIVING IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?

I have a great suggestion, if you choose to accept it.

First, be an artist not a fame whore. Fame whores today need to shoot for reality TV, because your chances are better there at getting famous; why do it the hard way?

Second, think just a little more like a business person. Start with defining your lane and the other lanes that are necessary for you to succeed. There are many different systems out there to help you understand this concept. I am familiar with one called Wealth Dynamics by Roger Hamilton. NOTE: I am not shilling for Roger, as his program costs money; Im just familiar with this system so it provides for a better explanation on my part. There are many different ways to describe this so I encourage you to find and research one that makes sense to you. Essentially, Wealth Dynamics helps you define the different lanes people have in business and put together lanes that are simpatico or symbiotic as opposed to confrontational and non-productive. This is not a new concept, btw. If you read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, there is a great chapter about Henry Ford an 8th grade drop-out who was on trial for essentially lying to the public about being an educated man. You see, Henry was aware of his weaknesses and argued that he didnt have to have all the answers to the scientific and mathematical questions the prosecutor was asking him when he paid people to have those answers for him!

Long story short, you need write KILLER songs to stand out in todays marketplace right?

If yours are not KILLER than you need to find someone to help you take your songs to the top level.

Then you need to record those songs either as demos to be pitched to Major Label artists or as Master Tracks to be exposed to the public making you the artist. These recordings have to compete, right?

If you do not have the skill set or equipment to do this, then you need to find a team that can ensure you have KILLER recordings.

Once the record is done, if you do not like marketing than you need to partner up with someone who can help you market your music to the world and ultimately MOVE product so you can get paid. There are literally tons of companies out there if you know what to look for. People are starving for good NEW music so why not yours? Fill in your weak spots. TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS.

Start your own little label that will take care of only YOU. Its mathematically proven. You just dont know how to do it yet.

Walter Yetnikoff gets it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAzuvFxrkP0

Heres a link to a great book about record promotion called Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business. I recommend you READ this if you still believe in Terrestrial Radio and Major Labels

Heres a cool article on Joe Isgro and Hit Men: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,317976,00.html

I got the GNR story from The Operator: David Geffen Buys and Sells the New Hollywood.

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Are You Paying Attention To The Losers?

By Johnny Dwinell

Do you? Are you paying attention to the losers to learn from them or just the winners? I sincerely hope you are all really researching the marketing methods I gave you the broad strokes on in previous blog posts. This is MISSION CRITICAL that you get this.

Why?

This is how you will actually make a living. If I told you that you could replace your crappy $30K per year job that Losers winners imageyou suffer through to work on your music, with revenue FROM YOUR MUSIC, would you quit your job? Thats a No-Brainer! The only way that is going to happen is if you change your outlook, stop coveting the rock stars. Stop coveting the old music business and market your music INTELLIGENTLY in the NEW music business! If you keep doing what youve always done, youll keep getting what youve always got; and hows that working for ya?

 

Far too many of you are still so nave as to think that you just need to record that demo of your 3 cool songs and then someone important is going to hear them and sign you. WTF? That business model went out the window 10 years ago. Record labels USED to find talent and develop that talent.

But then again, record labels USED to make money selling music. (Btw, do you see the dichotomy here?? If you are the millennia generation, you want the music for free but yet, you still fantasize and believe in the old record business model which was only financially capable of developing talent with the MONEY THEY MADE FROM SELLING MUSIC?? LOL, but I digress.) So you have to recognize that your music no longer matters to the major labels because they cannot afford to develop you. It doesnt matter if youre more talented than Prince, THEY JUST DONT DEVELOP ARTISTS ANY MORE; IT IS NO LONGER THEIR BUSINESS MODEL.

You have to develop yourself.

You have to create a PROFITABLE small business that the major labels will be interested in investing in.

I would like to touch on the old record business in this post though. I want yall to explore the reality of the old record business. I think once it really sinks in, the reality of the shitateous chance you had to make it in the old record industry, it will be easier to embrace the new record industry. It will be far more attractive to embrace the mathematically predictable reality of online marketing.

How are we going to do that you ask?

By studying the losers; FYI, theres a lot.

Read this article. Its a little bit of a long read, but if you have a brain, it will be well worth it. If you are a person who chooses to think rather than just believe you will make the correlation. This article is not about the music business but about a phenomenon called Survivorship Bias. In short, we dont covet the losers. We covet the winners. Thou Shalt Not Covet!! This article is about learning as much as we can from the losers just as we learn from our mistakes; just as we learn from our failures.

Here it is: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

Now, how does this associate with the music business?

What do we have to learn from the losers?

For starters, lets talk about how many of them there are; 90% is an accurate number. Back in the heyday of the record business, when the labels make billions selling records, only 10% of the artists signed to just about any label made any money. CBS (now Sony), Warner Bros., Atlantic, Polygram, A&M, Elektra, Epic, all had hundreds of artists that were signed to their respective labels and only 10% of those signed artists made any money.

Only 10% were profitable.

Wow. Talk about planets aligning; you used to need the whole freaking Universe to line up to make any money at all.

Lets really put this in perspective. I was a hair-farmer back in the day, an 80s metal band front-man, and I STILL love 80s metal bands! I loved going to the concerts, I loved seeing them kick ass and shred (or NOT lol) live! (Check me out HERE if you want a little giggle) I was SO disappointed when I discovered the evil truth

Most of the bands I saw were in debt.losers debtor prison image

Most of the bands I saw had the record, made the video, were on tour, were doing tons of media interviews, they were living the rock star life style, they were living my dream, and they were deeply in debt. Man, all that work to get through the velvet rope, to get yourself in the door and POW, youre broke.

Want some proof?

Check out this article on RIAA accounting practices for the bands with major label deals HERE

Want some more?

Heres a great article written by Danny Goldberg (Google him), he was one of the heavyweights back in the day. Pretty grim, read it HERE

A Radio Promo Budget Doesn’t Mean Success

I submit this to you artists that have any kind of brain at all; why the fuck would you want this? Why would you want to deal with this when you can make WAY more money selling 70,000 units yourself than you can selling 700,000 with a major? Whats that? Oh, you wanna be on the radio? In Country music radio still rocks, radio still breaks new artists, but by the time you get there nobody will care. Nobody will be listening; just like nobody gives a shit about the network news anymore. So why bother on a million dollar bet? Thats right a BET! Ask me, Ill tell you! Just because you get a major label record deal and they spend 1 million dollars to promote you will not guarantee that you will get any spins. It does mean you will get a ride, maybe about 6-12 months, and then its over and you are in what we affectionately refer to as the Artist Protection Program. Locked away in a deal and nobody cares; nobody can hear you screaming either.

Why would you do this when you can PREDICTABLY make money online?? You just have to figure out how. Its not rocket science. For you artists who hate or simply cant imagine the art of business, FIND SOMEONE who does! $70,000 CDs sold at an average of $7 gross = $490,000. After expenses, after the necessary BS and cash flow required to sell 70,000 units, splitting the profit in 2 is still way better than never ever seeing a dime from a major label. Right?

Just ask the RIAA and Danny Goldberg.

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