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Your Gifts Will Be Rewarded in The Sensational Renaissance

Renaissance Feature 2 MEME 2

 

We are in dark times, my friends, but the future of Renaissance Tunnel Coldthe music business is a bright one.

 

 

The Renaissance is coming.

 

 

The music will improve tremendously, believe it or not.

 

The current market conditions are setting the stage brilliantly.

 

Renaissance Sterile music

 We are going through a breakdown of quality art and have been for a couple decades. Post-Modern art is derivative and sterile, to put it mildly.

 

 

This was happening before the internet and reality TV and now it’s been amplified. Everybody wants to be famous, not even necessarily talented.

 

I know it doesn’t feel “healthy” in any way, but this is OK! We’ll have a few years of nauseating, obnoxious, never-ending moronic art served up via our social media feeds and flat screen TVs.

 

Here’s the thing. The market will grow tired of it.

 

Renaissance Early AdoptersA bunch of you already are, you’re the early adopters.

 

The masses will follow much later.

 

Huh?

 

Yes, this is how marketing works and has always worked for hundreds of years. You have the early adopters like the people who camp out overnight for the new iPhone.

 

Then the masses follow in force.

 

To demonstrate how old this human behavior is (and for the purposes of building faith that we’re on the right track), I’ll share a little historical value bomb.

 

Renaissance Horsepower

 

 

Do you know why we refer to engine power as horsepower?

 

 

 

Back in the day when the automobile was a new technology to the masses, there were throngs of people who refused to ride in cars because they weren’t horses.

 

It’ll never stick, it’s a fad, it’s always been horses and always will be.

 

Imagine that!

 

They were too freaked out by the technology change.

 

Renaissance Buggy Ride

 

 

The automakers began talking about the power of the engine in terms that the masses could easily relate to; horsepower.

 

 

 

 

It stuck. Makes sense now, right?

 

Our modern-day version of that is when your parents refuse to use computers. Maybe their completely oblivious to social media and complain about it.

 

Have you heard anyone talk about social media as if it’s a demon to society?

 

We artists, we do this ourselves.

 

Renaissance Change

 

 

For some reason, we’re not comfortable with change.

 

But the only thing we can rely on is that the world will constantly change.

 

 

 

 

So, the artists who can adapt will be the artists that make a living because they will be the artists that we know about.

 

They figured out how to get to us. How to get to the market.

 

For example, most artists refuse to utilize the power of YouTube because they can’t get any traction on their own music. They tell themselves the story, “I don’t want to be known as a cover artist” to justify their lack of strategy, understanding, and inability to adapt.

 

Renaissance The Rolling Stones

But they’ve completely overlooked the fact that the first Beatles record was all covers.

 

 

Renaissance Rolling Stones 12x5

They’ve completely overlooked the fact that the first TWO Rolling Stones Records were comprised of all covers (except for 3 songs on 12×5).

 

 

 

 

They don’t consider some of today’s biggest stars like Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Melanie Martinez, and Miranda Lambert as “cover artists” but they all started out on YouTube or TV singing covers.

 

Renaissance Artist Collage

 

 

Eventually, the community of artists will let go of their past, unicorn-like delusions of how the music industry used to be (which is typically misguided anyway).

 

They will also jettison their naive feelings on the way it should be (with everyone getting a blue ribbon for trying and/or for having some talent).

 

 

 

Once this inevitably happens they’ll focus on what’s truly important; the work.

 

In the immediate future, we consumers will continue to become inundated with crap and clutter from the non-creative, derivative, fame-seeking, bottom-dwellers.

 

All sterile pop, rock, country, rap, etc. will begin to numb us, the masses, to the point of apathy.

 

 

 

We’ll all stop caring.

 

This will be scary.

 

This will naturally spur a new renaissance of significant art.

 

Important artists will rise up from the ashes.

 

Renaissance Drowning Clutter Sterile ROCK POP MEME

 

 

I say that it will happen naturally because the only thing that will cut through the clutter will be sincerely compelling talent and creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

Renaissance Phoenix MEME Important Artists

 

 

If you think about it, we’re seeing bits of this prediction already, aren’t we?

 

 

 

 

Artists like Noah Guthrie and Karmin, for instance. Radio may have helped grow their brand but it certainly didn’t create their brand.

 

Renaissance Noah Karmin Collage

 

We lack some super power tastemakers right now. Terrestrial radio used to influence a market, then on a larger scale, MTV (in the early days); these were huge tastemakers.

 

 

The DJ’s and VJ’s put their stamp of approval on it and we accepted the offering, didn’t we?

 

New tastemakers will arise with massive amounts of power.

 

Some will give way to the proverbial corporate poison apple.

Renaissance MTV Logo

 

 

Others will realize, like Snapchat, that authenticity is what sells and will keep them relevant in the marketplace. They’ll shun the apple and stick to the moral, genuine, and effective approach that garnered them the market attention which made them attractive to the corporate world, to begin with.

 

 

 

The renaissance is coming. A renaissance of art, ideas, thinking, and philosophies that will be astonishing to witness.

 

Renaissance is coming MEME

 

 

It’s percolating.

 

 

 

Artists everywhere are just beginning to ask the right questions.

 

How can I cut through the clutter?”

 

“How can I become more compelling?”

 

“How can I take this artistic piece to another level?”

 

“How can I really reach my audience?”

“What does my audience feel, want, and demand?”

 

The Renaissance is coming!

 

I’m so freaking excited about it!!

 

No longer do artists need to ask permission to present their work to the masses.

 

They’re beginning to understand this.

 

An artist can create something compelling, present it to the market (a large market), and refine it from there.

 

Any artist can easily FIND THEIR AUDIENCE!

 

Renaissance Brainwashed

 

 

 

This will be an audience of consumers who are responding to the art because it speaks to them as opposed to being brainwashed into liking it through repetition.

 

 

 

 

In the future, artists will become brand ambassadors.

 

They will be valued quite highly because they have something most companies and brands don’t have; PERMISSION.

 

Renaissance Gold PERMISSION MEME

Permission being defined as the ability to reach a mass of people who are looking forward to their next communication from the artist.

 

 

Imagine an artist with 1 million email addresses, phone numbers, and/or device ID’s.

 

Picture an artist with that kind of reach who understands how to create compelling content, aside from their music, that is relevant and personal to the 1 million followers.

 

Renaissance 1 million MEME

Envision those 1 million followers not tolerating the interruptions, but ANTICIPATING whatever content is coming from said artist.

 

 

 

Can you see it?

 

I can.

 

Brands will bow at the feet of artists who have crafted a unique relationship with their fans because it’s the only way to get through anymore.

 

Renaissance Bow At The Feet

 

Artists will be the pied pipers, the cult leaders, the powerfully benevolent managers of a loyal following who will listen intently.

 

 

 

It’s not about, “I have 1 million contacts”, anymore. It’s going to be about, “I have 1 million relationships.”

 

Artists, they will pay to align their brand with yours.

 

They will pay dearly to be associated with your cool, with your hipness, and with your energy.

 

You have compelling art.

 

Renaissance Next Stop The Future

 

Get that compelling art in front of people who are wanting to consume it.

 

 

The rest will take care of itself.

 

I promise.

 

JUST WORK.

 

 

 

Stay

 

In

 

Tune.

 

 

 

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How to Expand Your Audience Using YouTube Right Now

youtube-feature-image

YouTube is the most valuable asset that you have right now as an artist, in fact, it’s your gateway to 1 BILLION people, a majority of whom use it for music purposes, and it’s free, but most of you are completely ignoring it.youtube-ignorance

 

 

 

Why?

 

For the love of God, WHY?!?!

 

Answer: Because it’s foreign and you’re lazy.

 

 

You think it’s not foreign because you experience it just about every day, but that doesn’t mean you know a damn thing about how to harness the real power of YouTube.

 

youtube-article-resized

 

 

 

 

I have a blog article and a 2-part episode on my podcast (episodes 14 and 16) about the steps you need to take to build a potentially viral YouTube channel.

 

 

 

 

 

Still, most of you would rather sit around and complain about not being able to find your audience or make a living with your music. You vent about this with your best artistically prideful voice and tell your friends what you’re willing and not willing to do as an artist to maintain your “integrity”.

 

Or at least to maintain the story of what integrity means to you that you keep telling yourself.

 

youtube-story-you-tell-yourself-meme

 

How can anyone of you deny the sheer numbers of artists famous or not, that broke on YouTube?

 

 

 

 

Make no mistake, when I say broke, I mean they now make a living creating music because they found their audience on YouTube.

 

In this article, I want to get into the most common conceptual mistake that just about all artists make when thinking about a YouTube strategy.

 

The secret is to remove your artist hat and put on a marketing hat.

 

youtube-think-differently-meme

 

I promise there is artistic satisfaction in a solid YouTube marketing strategy, but it’s not where you think it is.

 

 

 

Therefore, you can’t locate this strategy in the current story you’re telling yourself.

 

 

By the way, if your artistic “integrity” as you define it, is the very thing that is keeping you from expanding your audience, shouldn’t you rethink that?

 

 

youtube-artistic-integrity-meme

 

Most artists want to put up videos of either their original material or cover songs that mean something to them from artists they “respect”. This is where y’all think the artistic satisfaction comes from.

 

 

 

 

You put up videos of your original material but no one in the marketplace is aware of you as an artist, so you get zero views from new possible fans; just views from friends and family.

 

How did this help you “spread your gospel”?

 

How did this help you reach new people with your talent?

 

youtube-zero-traffic-meme

 

You put up videos of you covering your favorite iconic songs but again, the only views you get are from people who already know you because nobody is searching for the original version of the crusty song you had to cover to keep your current “artist integrity” story intact.

 

 

Both approaches are flawed and quite self-centered.

 

 

 

youtube-tied-down-zero-views

 

Neither of these tactics work because they don’t create traffic in any real way.

 

There is no new business happening.

 

 

 

 

 

When approaching YouTube, one must think like a marketer.

 

You need to expose your talents to as many new people as humanly possible if you’re going to expand your audience.

 

Makes sense, right?

 

So then, where can you find the new people?

 

How can you drive traffic to your video?

 

 

Answer:  Current cover songs.

 

youtube-cover-songs-over-face

 

Sometimes these newly released songs are beneficial to you because they drive traffic from well-known artist videos, and sometimes they’re beneficial because they’re not so well-known so there is little competition.

 

Provided the original video gets a ton of views, you’re going to get some too…unless you suck, but I digress.

 

 

 

Constantly check for the songs that have just dropped every Friday. Pick 2-4 songs to work up.

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT:  This is where the cathartic artistic satisfaction comes from, putting your stamp on another artist’s original song.

 

 

youtube-billboard-hot-100-image

 

 

 

The more distant the original artist’s style is from yours the more compelling it will be.
Take artistic license and go as crazy as you want to be.

 

 

 

Imagine getting paid 1 million dollars to work up and put your artistic stamp on 10 songs that are completely out of your artistic lane.

 

 

I tell my artists, “You have to pick from the songs I offer you, but after that, I don’t care what you do with it; go nuts.”

 

youtube-traffic-night

 

 

Traffic will be generated to your version of that song because people will be searching for the original artists brand new video and stumble across yours.

 

 

 

If your version is compelling in the first 10-15 seconds, you’re going to start racking up completely organic views and lots of them.

 

 

Don’t worry about how many, just worry about being consistent. Some will do ok some will do amazing.

 

Know that it’s not about the quality of the video, it’s about a compelling performance.  Some of your covers will fare better than others because of competition and when they were posted in relation to the drop date.

 

 

youtube-early-memeThe key is to be as early as possible in the life cycle of the new single because there is little traffic at the beginning.

 

 

 

Also, sometimes, the smaller artists have less people trying to cover the song so again, less competition means more traffic to your video.

 

 

For example, go and check out Bailey James’ video channel. Her Taylor Swift covers are brilliant; she slays the vocal on these.

 

 

taylor-swift-blank-space

 

Most of Taylor’s original videos rack up somewhere between 600 million to over 1 billion views so there is no doubt about the traffic, but the trouble lies in the fact that every little girl and her mother are posting their version of the latest Taylor Swift single on YouTube.

 

 

 

Consequently, out of the 3 Taylor covers on Bailey’s channel, they only garnered between 4-5 thousand views each.

 

 

That’s probably more views than most of you have ever received, but, again, I digress.

 

 

YouTube little-big-town

 

 

On the other hand, she a did a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” that has racked up over 120,000 views largely because of low competition related to the controversy surrounding the song even before it was released.

 

 

 

 

Little Big Town’s original version has over 62 million views which is astounding but paltry (less than 10% of traffic) compared to anything from Swift. The difference to our views was more than 10x.

 

 

youtube-bailey-james-collage

 

Get it?

 

What is the goal here?

 

The goal is to get you, the compelling artist, in front of new people every day.

 

 

 

 

This is called marketing.

 

Every day people are searching for their favorite artist’s NEW videos. They’re aware of these new videos because their favorite artist’s record labels are spending millions of dollars to ensure that you got the message.

 

 

youtube-foot-traffic

This is real legitimate “digital foot traffic” that spills over into your channel.

 

 

 

After you begin to build an audience, you can pepper in an original video or two, but if you’re annotating your cover videos, the viewers will be able to download a full kick-ass recording of one of your originals for free on every view in exchange for their email address.

 

Why not get them the killer track, at the height of interest first, but save the original video for when you make a proper music video for YOUR ORIGINAL track?

 

youtube-bailey-james-channel

Now you have a channel filled with covers, other content that your community finds relevant and personal to THEM, and a couple killer videos of original music which will stick out like a sore thumb on the channel.

 

 

 

 

The packaging makes sense aesthetically, yes?

 

The traffic is real. To date, while we have paid YouTube to promo Bailey’s original music videos, we have well over 350k views that are completely organic.

 

 

Understand that YouTube makes money via advertising.

 

 

YouTube NASA JSC Electronic Imagery

 

 

So, they are constantly algorithmically scrubbing every video to search for the early stage popular videos. Once your video hits a certain amount of views within a certain time of posting you ring that first bell and they press a multiplier button that exposes your video to more people.

 

 

 

If the trend continues, another multiplier button is hit, and then another, and so on. They WANT you to go viral because it’s better for business.

 

Make sense?

 

A properly annotated cover video that offers free download and requests the viewer to subscribe at the end is money. Be advised that annotations don’t work on mobile devices so YouTube has just recently added an “End Card” feature which will incorporate the mobile devices.

 

 

As you build your subscribers up, more and more people are exposed to your new cover videos on the day you post, thus, increasing your chances of ringing that first bell.

 

 

youtube-karmin-justin-noah-collage

 

Many artists like Noah Guthrie, Karmin, and Justin Bieber have broken on YouTube. Not all of them became big huge stars but ALL OF THEM make their living creating and performing music.

 

 

 

If they were completely indie like you, and not rich, like you, this is the system they used.

 

You just need to understand the method behind the madness and put the work in.

 

The rest will happen organically if you’re compelling.

 

It takes time.youtube-real-artist-meme

 

Now about that story you’ve been telling yourself about how you’re going to get your audience, what was that again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay

 

In

 

Tune

 

If you found value in this content, please SHARE it and COMMENT below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Bowie: Exhilarating and Terrifying

David Bowie Feature Image

Sorry this post took a while. I was a little devastated. I’m unsure as to whether I knew about David Bowie and his battle with cancer and ignored it or simply didn’t know. Either way, I felt blindsided. This is a tremendous loss for the artistic community. He was super intelligent. A visionary. Mostly he was an artist right up until the end.David Bowie Interview

 

 

Watch this 2000 interview with David Bowie. Here he begins to predict the power of the internet to change the music industry in the future.

 

 

 

David Bowie Exhilarating Ying Yang

 

 

 

“I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society – both good and bad – is unimaginable. I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.”

 

“The monopolies do not have a monopoly:”

 

David Bowie No Monopoly

 

Pretty spot on, huh? Hard to imagine it was 16 years ago that he gave this interview.

 

I want to discuss the “exhilarating and terrifying” part of that quote.

 

 

We need to touch a little on the terrifying to truly find an accurate perspective of the exhilaration counterpart that accompanies it.

 

The terrifying has manifested itself in many ways, hasn’t it? Free tracks have temporarily devalued music but artists like Taylor Swift have proven that when you embrace the new methods you can still sell 8.6 million records. Which blows the whole “if they can get it for free they won’t buy it” argument right out of the water; now THAT’S exhilarating!David Bowie Wolfman Jack

 

If she can sell 8.6 million records when the ENTIRE industry can’t really crack 1 million in sales, YOU can certainly make a living. Oh, and she’s clearly doing something different than the rest of the industry.

 

It’s terrifying that our tried and true methodologies of curation have broken down. It used to be that a trusted DJ in a market would spin something that moved him and if it was good (which it usually was because of the hurdles an artist had to overcome to get their song to the DJ to begin with), the world would catch on. Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” both broke in this fashion. They started abnormally in the Midwest and caught fire moving outwardly to the coasts. FYI, Pink Floyd’s single became viral in spite of a power play by The Syndicate (a group of 6 men that controlled radio in the 70’s) to keep Floyd OFF the air in an attempt to prove their power eclipsed their ability to get a song played.

 

It’s exhilarating that artists like Karmin, Noah, and Macklemore can find a huge audience without the corporate amen from the powers that be at terrestrial radio or major record labels.

David Bowie Karmin

 

 

It’s terrifying that records used to cost the 2016 equivalent of $29 and now they only cost $10.99.

 

It’s exhilarating that proper marketing can not only bring record sales back, but monetize the tremendous talents of artists in many brand new ways.

 

 

 

 

Unimaginable was what Bowie said, I believe.

David Bowie Unimaginable MEME

 

 

It’s terrifying that the record labels are so broke they no longer develop talent anymore. The methods artists used for 7 decades to get their music made and heard no longer apply. This is foreign and foreign creates feelings that range from the uncomfortable to downright scary.

 

 

It’s exhilarating that there is a new frontier with an embarrassment of artistic and monetary riches that waits for the pioneers that are willing to learn. It’s never been easier and this inexpensive to target, connect, and create relationships with your fans.

 

As David Bowie said in the interview, music is now a community experience.David Bowie Community

 

 

It used to be an artist would get distribution overseas and have no choice but to trust the suits that their music “wasn’t really selling”.

 

 

It used to be that an artist would sell 8 million records and never fully “recoup” the budget put forth by a record label because they could hide the money and screw the artist in perpetuity.

 

David Bowie Beggar

 

Now, we can track everything digitally. There is no reason for an artist to have to “trust” anyone. Now artists can “trust but verify”.

 

The monopolies no longer have a monopoly.

 

 

You don’t need a record label or radio to find your audience, you can find your own fans at your fingertips and it’s basically a free exercise.

 

You don’t need a record label or radio to create a buzz about your artistic efforts.

 

David Bowie Bailey JamesDaredevil artist Bailey James has at least 14 independently created social media accounts. They were created by fans. 12 on Instagram and 2 on Twitter last time I checked.

 

That’s buzz

 

She hasn’t even released her record yet.

 

It’s real, man.

 

About 6 months ago, Bailey posted a cover of Luke Bryan’s “Kick the Dust Up” on her YouTube channel. This song was chosen simply for the traffic value we felt it would bring and it didn’t disappoint. However, this cover was the first that created some real controversy. The reaction to the video was split down the middle with as many people hating it (whether it was Bailey’s performance of it or the song itself I’m still unsure) as loving it. Bailey’s father was systematically removing the negativity in an understandable paternal effort to protect his little girl (she was 12 years old).

 

I told both parents to keep it real and leave the negative comments up. I said this because there were people that were actually listening to our artist expecting a train wreck (due to the negative comments) that were blown away by her vocal prowess and therefore baffled at the negative commentary.

 

They commented as much.

David Bowie Bailey James YouTube 3

Now they’re fans and subscribers to Bailey’s channel.

 

Some of the best, deepest relationships in life are forged from adversity. If the adverse reactions were allowed to stay, I said, her fans would come to her defense.

 

What makes you believe something deeper than defending it? Psychologically, that has a subconscious positive effect on the defenders; a bond is created between the defenders and the defended.David Bowie Scary

 

Last week a little girl made the sorry mistake of posting an Instagram message calling Bailey James a “bitch”.

 

Papa bear let it ride.

 

Whoa. The fans SKEWERED that little girl who left the bitch comment so much I felt bad for her. She digressed and said it was some boy on the bus who posted the comment without her knowledge or approval so it wasn’t her fault.

David Bowie Bailey James Bitch

 

I think all those protectors will buy the record when it is released, don’t you?

 

They’re passionate now. Definitely more passionate than before the bitch comment.

 

All this is possible from a laptop or smartphone.

 

You can create your own demand.

 

You don’t need a record label to make a living making music, everything you need, including the education on how to do it, is right at your fingertips and instantly available for those who know to ask the right questions.

 

You don’t need a record label to monitor your money for you. In fact, collection agencies like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC are all feeling the pain of maintaining their relevance in this new digital age.

 

 

 

You don’t need 1 million dollars to make your music and market it these days. You just need to want to do it enough to venture forth into the unknown and learn some new skills.

 

That’s what I did.

 

You need to be bold instead of whiney.

 

You need to be courageous instead of fearful.

 

You need to be curious instead of lazy.

 

Embrace the change.

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streetsDavid Bowie Young Americans
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace timeDavid Bowie Hollywood Star

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Where’s your shame
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace timeDavid Bowie Patch

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I’m going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time

 

You were a true genius, Davie Bowie.

 

Thanks for the great music, man.

 

God Speed.

 

Now any artist can make true art without corporate intervention and bring it to the world without corporate intervention.

That is, if they really want to.

 

When you can have complete control over your art and your cash, why would you place your future in the hands of 2 different committees (record labels and radio) whose businesses are dying right before your eyes?

 

Why on Earth would you want to do it the old way?

 

Stay

In

Tune

 

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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