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Jacob Cade has been hooked on music from an early age. Inspired by artists such as Guns n’ Roses and Led Zeppelin and brought up by a musical family, it’s no surprise that writing and performing quickly became his passion. Now, the nineteen year old singer and rock & roller is well on his way to stardom. With his newest single, “What’s Your Problem?!” co-written with Rachel Bolan of Skid Row out now and plans to release even more music (including a new album) soon, 2018 promises to be one hell of a year for Cade….CLICK HERE to read more.
By Andrew Catania
â€œThe first time I met Jacob was when he and his mom came to my Nashville studio,â€ recalls German-born studio avatar,Â Michael Wagener, the man responsible for helping craft dozens of successful rock releases including multiplatinum efforts byÂ Skid Row, Warrant, Metallica, andÂ Dokken. â€œHe played me some demos, licks on guitar and I thought instantly that he was a great young artist with tremendous potential…CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE
Have you ever heard of Bert Hinkler?
He did something amazing. He even did that amazing thing faster and more efficiently than the first person who did it.
Bert was better, hands down, but he was second.
Therefore, you remember Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis, donâ€™t you?
Â This is because he was theÂ first person to successfully fly a single-engine airplane solo non-stop across the Atlantic.
Want to hear something crazy?
You werenâ€™t aware of the #2 person who succeeded in this incredible flight but you probably know the #3 person to ever do it; Amelia Earhart.
How come you know the first, never heard of the second, but the third is also famous?
Answer: Because she was the first woman to do it.
The Law of Leadership.
This is the first law in an amazing book that has been out forever called The 22 Immutable Laws of MARKETING. (This link takes you to the Amazon â€œused bookâ€ page where there are tons of copies for freakinâ€™ .98 cents! An IMPORTANT, quick education for less than $1â€¦but I digress)
Hereâ€™s the question that I want you to ask yourself, â€œAm I trying to succeed as an artist by default or am I trying to succeed by design?â€
To be clear, my definition of â€œsuccessâ€ is this: you make a living writing, recording, and performing music. Making a living doing all these or just one, but doing what you love means no day-gig.
Â Too many of you are trying to become successful by default.
Yeah, let me explain.
There are three kinds of people in this world.
- People who make things happen
- People who watch what happens
- People who wonder what happened
33% of People â€œmake things happenâ€ because they approach success by design.
They choose to learn so they KNOW what theyâ€™re doing. People who win by design make a choice to follow an educated path spending their precious time and resources in the most effective places.
More education = less naivete.
Â Which means 66% of people, the ones who â€œwatch what happensâ€ and â€œwonder what happenedâ€ live by default; the world happens to them.
Did you catch that? Iâ€™m going to repeat it, 66% of people live by default meaning the world happens to them.
Youâ€™re an artist for Godâ€™s sake!
By D E F I N I T I O N, you, the artist, are supposed to happen to the world!
If youâ€™re going to be an artist that happens to the world (because I donâ€™t believe there are artists where the world happened to them. If there is, we donâ€™t know about them, so did it happen?), you must build your career by design.
Building and living by design meanÂ you cannot watch what happens and you cannot wonder what happened. You must know whatâ€™s going on!
Education is the key.
You are the CEO of your little company. FYI, the biggest and best started out of garages like yours (Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Madonna, Metallica, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, etc.)
If you say to yourself that you â€œsuck at marketingâ€ or you â€œsuck at businessâ€ then youâ€™re probably right which makes you a sucky CEO.
Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with being a poor CEO but you wonâ€™t succeed, sorry.
Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, youâ€™re in charge. If you suck at some mission critical part of your dream, youâ€™d better address that now.
In The 22 Immutable Laws of MARKETING, the authors say that any CEO who isnâ€™t in charge of his or her own marketing is living by default.
To work by design YOU have to be in charge. You have to work with the outside companies you hire to ensure your brand is being conveyed correctly.
Are you waiting for someone to sign you?
Youâ€™re living by default, waiting for the world to happen to you.
Are you waiting to meet that one big relationship before you kick it into second gear and get serious?
Again, Living by default.
You have to GET IT GOING people. YOU are your only hope.
Yes, there are a couple artists who seem to have gotten lucky, but if this is your plan youâ€™re living by default because these so-called â€œluckyâ€ artists are exceptions to the rule (PLUS, I promise you donâ€™t know the whole story so theyâ€™re not as lucky as you think.)
Winning the lottery is an exception to the ruleâ€¦but, again, I digress.
This book is weighted completely on business brands with no mention of the music business whatsoever.
Try and see past that. The gems are in there.
Iâ€™ll connect a few dots for you.
Substitute â€œleadingâ€ for â€œFirstâ€
What is the leading institution in this country?
You probably thought Harvard.
You would be right and they were also the first institution in this country founded in 1636. William and Mary CollegeÂ is the second oldest and theyâ€™re slightly more famous than Bert Hinkler.
Time Magazine vs. Newsweek, guess who was first?
Advil vs. Nuprin and youâ€™re right, Advil is the leader in the market with a 51% share and they were also first.
Would it surprise you that twins often complain that the first of the two whom a person meets always remains their favorite even though that person gets to meet the other twin?
Itâ€™s better to be first than to be better.
Thatâ€™s the #1 Immutable Law of Marketing.
If you canâ€™t be first like Xerox with copiers (people stand in front of a Ricoh copier and ask for a Xerox copy!), Keen-ex with facial tissue, or Gore-Tex, Jell-O, Fiberglass, Saran Wrap and Scotch Tape, then be first in a sub-category.
Like Amelia Earhart being the 1st woman.
Chrysler has just 10% of the auto market but owns 50% of the minivan market because they were first.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of you, â€œBut Johnny, what does this have to do with me as an artist?â€
This is called the Law of Category
What is your artistic lane or category?
What are you doing differently that will make you identifiable?
Hello, these are design questions.
Taylor Swift was the first young country artist to lyrically speak to her peers.Â This is partly why she is so huge. Nobody was communicating to the 9-14-year-olds in the country market at that time.
Kiss was the first rock group to make the make-up famous and provide a bombastic live show.
Motley CrÃ¼e was first in the market with the new 80â€™s glam metal sound, they added to what David Bowie had done with glam and made it harder edged.
Â By the way, when I say, â€œfirst in the marketâ€ I mean first in the marketâ€™s AWARENESS which is to say they were first in the mind.
There may have been other glam metal bands before Motley CrÃ¼e, but they were the first to get into your awareness so they win.
Marketing is a mental game, the products, to a degree, donâ€™t matter.
Thus, â€œItâ€™s better to be first than to be betterâ€.
Brian Epstein fashioned the Beatles into 4 neatly trimmed, clean faced, suit-wearing, bowing-after-every-song, safe boys you could bring home to mom.
Andrew Loog OldhamÂ knew he couldnâ€™t occupy the same lane with the Stones, so he fashioned them in a new category as the â€œanti-Beatlesâ€. They were dangerous and scruffy looking.
Think about it, if marketing was objectively product based like we want to believe, there would be no sucky music.
No artists would be famous unless they were uber-talented.
But that has never been the case, has it?
Therefore, whoever markets better, wins.
Being first in the market is important only to the extent that it allows you to be first in the mind.
This is so important in the music industry that MANY really talented artists have been signed for the sole purpose of being shelved to keep them off the market so as not to compete with the label’s priority who is similar.
This is good info to know if you’re looking at a deal. Why are they signing you? You’d better know all the artists on the label roster because I promise you the courtship is exactly the same. It’s the outcome that changes.
The MITS Altair 8800 was the first personal computer, it came out in 1974 and the Apple II came out later in 1976.
But Apple had a better name and better marketing so they got into the mind first.
Marketing is a battle of perception, not products so the MIND takes precedence over the marketplace.
Itâ€™s one thing to be an amazing artist but itâ€™s another to be in the mind of the consumer.
This is called the Law of the Mind.
Everybody lives within their own perception. Their reality is their perception.
Think about this fact in terms of politics, religion, or your bandmates opinions on the best artists or equipment.
How about emotionally and sexaully abused people? Their perception is they don’t think they’re worth anything so that becomes their reality.
So, reality doesnâ€™t matter as much as perception BUT, in todayâ€™s music business, the perception had better be authenticity.
Youâ€™d better be REAL and GENUINE or the market will see right through it.
Hype wonâ€™t make perception a reality. Until your audience perceives you to be real, youâ€™re a fantasy.
Youâ€™re the Altair 8800.
Youâ€™re that amazingly talented friend of yours who didnâ€™t get the record deal.
Falling into the (often inaccurate) assumption that you have more talent, therefore you deserve success is killing you.
The artist who wins will be the artist who infiltrates the consumer mind first, talented or not.
The artist who stands out will be the artist who is the most unique in the new music business.
Therefore, the artists who lack on a body of work simply wonâ€™t have authentic art.
The more work an artist does to â€œclose the gapâ€ between their taste and authenticity, the more authentic their art becomes.
Therefore, covers are so important.
Cut the crap, you wonâ€™t be misconstrued a cover artist, I promise.
Letâ€™s be honest here, the reality is that, right now, youâ€™re not seen by the market as any kind of artist, isnâ€™t it?
Or at least youâ€™re seen by too few people to make a living.
Until you put in this work, the artist is unique and the art is not.
Itâ€™s not about your music.
Rather, itâ€™s about what people think about your music.
If objectivity on the product were the determining factor in marketing, all products would perform equally throughout the globe.
In America, the top 3 Japanese auto imports are Honda, Toyota, and Nissan IN THAT ORDER.
If people purchased based on theÂ objectivity of the product, like designs, functionality, styling, etc., this same ranking would exist in Japan, but it doesnâ€™t because the Japanese think about these brands differently.
Japan’s top 3 selling auto brands are Toyota, Nissan, then Honda coming in third because the Japanese think of Honda as a motorcycle company, not a car company.
Imagine how well Harley-Davidson cars would sell in America.
In America, Campbellâ€™s soup is #1 but in England, Heinz soup is #1.
The question is, exactly what are you doing to get yourself in the mind of the consumer?
I want you to win.
Youâ€™re only going to win by penetrating the mind of the consumer.
Get someone to do it for you if you donâ€™t know how to do it.
If you canâ€™t afford that, get an education and continue to learn. Understand how to permeate the consumer’s mind by design so you happen to the world.
If youâ€™re not happening to the world, youâ€™re not an artist.
I mean, maybe you are, but I havenâ€™t heard of you.
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We are constantly hearing comments from up and coming indie artists like â€œI just need to get my deal [and then Iâ€™ll be successful]â€ or â€œIf I could just get in front of the right person, I know I could be successful.â€ I got news for you, the record business doesnâ€™t work like that anymore. These days itâ€™s simply not enough to have talent, you have to PROVE that youâ€™re worth it.
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 naÃ¯vetÃ© 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.
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 canâ€™t build your business model around a 20 year old music business model.Â 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.
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 â€œeasiestâ€ record deals came to the derivative acts.Â The acts that were signed simply because the labels saw some quick money to be made with an artist that could capture a little market 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 hasnâ€™t changed much.
No one wants to sign something that is different from what is happening right now on terrestrial radio because itâ€™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 â€œbro-countryâ€ 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.
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.
- MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e â€“ Nobody wanted to sign MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e. They were too weird.Â They created their own record label LeathÃ¼r Records and self-released Too Fast for Love.Â MÃ¶tleyâ€™s local popularity was so huge in 1981 that they sold 40,000 copies in Los Angeles alone.Â FYI the wiki link says 20k but Iâ€™m pretty sure my sources are more accurate. ;)Â These sales led to an Elektra Records deal in late 1982 where they remixed the CrÃ¼eâ€™s debut record and re-released it. MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e incarnated the glam-metal-hair-band genre of the 80â€™s.Â Thank you fellas!
- Ratt â€“ Since 1976 many self-financed singles, records, and live show recordings were being distributed to galvanize Rattâ€™s (previously Mickey Ratt) LA club following. This led to a meager indie record deal where they released the Ratt EP in 1983.Â 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.
- Bon Jovi â€“ 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?Â He recorded 50 + demos of “Runaway”(one was produced by Billy Squier) and shopped them to the labels.Â Nobody cared. At the time, Jon was also WORKING for WAPP â€œThe Appleâ€ writing and singing jingles.Â DJ Chip Hobart asked Jon to include “Runaway”Â on a compilation record for the station (a move Jon was very apprehensive about) and that single became a huge â€œlocalâ€ hit.Â 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.
- Skid Row â€“ The first Skid Row record was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Jack 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 80â€™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 wouldnâ€™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.Â After that contract was signed guaranteeing massive exposure for the band, Flom gave them a $1,000,000 cash advance.
- Florida Georgia Line â€“ 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.Â All this power and marquis value and every label still said â€œNOâ€; they were too different.Â They STILL had to prove they had value.Â They exercised a relationship on satellite radio where â€œCruiseâ€ became a smash hit.Â 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 didnâ€™t change, the songs didnâ€™t change, and the production didnâ€™t change. The only thing that changed was the perception.Â Every label then said â€œYESâ€ and they signed with Scott Borchettaâ€™s Republic Nashville label under the Big Machine umbrella.
- Zac Brown Band â€“ Zac had been touring over 200 dates a year with an acoustic trio since 2002. Constantly writing and recording and shopping to record labels. They were â€œtoo popâ€ for all the country labels and â€œtoo countryâ€ 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 Zacâ€™s own Southern Ground (formerly Home Grown) label imprint and Atlantic Records.
- Luke Bryan â€“ reached success as a songwriter to prove his music had value. He penned the title track to Travis Trittâ€™s 2004 release My Honky Tonk History. Which helped him get a deal with Capitol Records.Â Hereâ€™s the thing, while he was working on his debut album he managed to co-write Billy Curringtonâ€™s #1 single â€œGood Directionsâ€ which certainly helped when it came time for the label to allocate promotional funds for Bryanâ€™s debut record.
- Brantley Gilbert â€“ Proved his music had value in marketplace by writing hit songs first. He had cuts like â€œThe Best of Meâ€ on Jason Aldeanâ€™s 2009 release Wide Open. This resulted in an indie record deal where he released his debut record that included â€œMy Kinda Partyâ€ which became a #1 after it was re-recorded by Jason Aldean for his 2010 release of the same name.Â Brantleyâ€™s 2nd #1 was â€œDirt Road Anthemâ€ co-written by country rap artist Colt Ford.Â This effort led to Brantleyâ€™s deal on Scott Borchettaâ€™s Valory label and insured proper attention to Brantleyâ€™s releases once he got his shot.
- Chase Rice â€“ He co-wrote one of the biggest hits of the last 5 years â€œCruiseâ€ by Florida Georgia Line. BIG time proof his music has value.Â Now he has a deal and a gold single with â€œReady, Set, Rollâ€.
- Sam Hunt â€“ He penned Kenny Chesneyâ€™s â€œCome Overâ€, Keith Urbanâ€™s â€œCop Carâ€, and Billy Curringtonâ€™s â€œWe Are Tonightâ€ before independently releasing his own single. This led to a major label deal with MCA Nashville and his current #1 single â€œLeave the Night Onâ€.
- Cole Swindell â€“ wrote these songs to prove his music had value. Then he independently released â€œChillinâ€™ Itâ€ and THEN he got his deal with Warner Bros.
- Craig Campbellâ€™s â€œOutta My Headâ€
- Luke Bryan’s “Just a Sip”, “Beer in the Headlights”, â€œRoller Coasterâ€, “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”
- Thomas Rhettâ€™s “Get Me Some of Thatâ€
- Scotty McCreeryâ€™s “Water Tower Town” and “Carolina Eyes”
- He also co-wrote Florida Georgia Lineâ€™s “This is How We Rollâ€ with Luke Bryan
- Lee Brice â€“ Co-wrote Garth Brooks 2007 single â€œMore Than a Memoryâ€ 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?
- Ani DeFranco â€“ Ani has been independent all along. She started her own label Righteous Babe Records at the age of 18. She recorded everything on her own with an 8-track reel to reel and toured her ass off.Â She put out 5 records from 1990-1994 before partnering with Koch International to distribute her 6th independent release Not a Pretty Girl.Â Who knows how many major label deals she has turned down?
- Granger Smith / Earl Dibbles Jr. â€“ 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.
- Jamey Johnson â€“ He co-wrote the huge Trace Adkins hit â€œHonky Tonk Badonkadonkâ€ which garnered him a deal with BNA Records in 2005.
- Randy Houser â€“ Co-wrote â€œHonky Tonk Badonkadonkâ€ with Jamey Johnson and Dallas Davidson for Trace Adkins in 2005. That proof of value led to a major label deal in 2008.
- Karmin â€“ Proved that her talent had value in the marketplace by posting consistent YouTube videos of cover songs. The breakthrough was her cover of â€œLook at Me Nowâ€ by Chris Brown, Lilâ€™ Wayne, and Busta Rhymes. That video currently has over 93 million views and led to a record deal and a solid fan base.
- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis â€“ 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 accumulatedÂ 613 million views of their video for â€œThrift Shopâ€ on YouTube. They currently have over 1.3 million subscribers on their YouTube channel.
- Noah â€“ 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 LMFAOâ€™s â€œSexy and I Know Itâ€. This video blew up and went viral.Â Around 2 million views he started monetizing it.Â 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.Â He now has over 22 million views and a solid career.
- Thomas Rhett â€“ is the son of hit singer songwriter Rhett Akins. Still, it took until he wrote â€œI Ainâ€™t Ready to Quitâ€ 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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