Tag Archive for: music team

Frustrated Feature MEME

For one to be rich, someone else must be poor.

Frustrated Crumbs 1% MEME



Money is the root of all evil.



Wealth is like a pie. Because the top 1% have 90% of the pie the rest of us must survive on the crumbs.





These implicit beliefs have us thinking that if we make a profit, we are making someone else poor because there is only so much to go around.


These implicit beliefs have us thinking that we can’t get what we want without getting it from the 1%.


Frustrated Implicit Definition



FYI, the word “implicit” means this is a belief that hasn’t been quantified or proven in any way.





But the truth is quite the opposite. Wealth and power are abundant. Quite abundant.


Just because you haven’t experienced them doesn’t mean there scarce in any way, shape, or form. Rather it means that you haven’t figured it out yet.


In fact, the 99% hasn’t figured it out. The 99% choose to believe these cockamamie urban legends. All of the 99% are held down by these beliefs, not the “man” or their situation.  Some are held back and will stay stagnant simply because they don’t honestly believe they have a chance. They don’t imagine they can do anything great because deep down inside, they believe that they deserve to be poor. Some are just lazy and use these tall tales to justify their lack of motivation and execution as well as their unhappy outcome.


Frustrated 99%It’s always easier to blame someone else than it is to have faith in yourself.


It’s easy to say you can’t do it because you have no money.




Yes, a lack of capital provides some stout challenges along anyone’s journey to be sure.


But, there are PLENTY of iconic artists, influential business people and Presidents like Bill Clinton who have come from utter poverty to reach their full potential.


Frustrated Bill Clinton


Therefore, these monetary challenges are just that; challenges.  These speed bumps don’t define your success or lack thereof unless you allow them to.


It’s easy to say that you can’t do it because of racism.


Yes, there are plenty of idiots in the world, sadly this is a fact. There have been throngs of different races that have been oppressed, enslaved, and exterminated over just the last 100 years. This is also a fact.




But despite all the very real racial issues in the United States, for instance, we just had a 2-term black President. We have many highly-paid and influential minority actors, artists, business executives, community leaders, and good, honest people who make successful livings and raise their families.


Many of these amazing people had to overcome racism and poverty!


Therefore, racism is as big of a blockade as you choose to make it.


Frustrated BlockadeIt’s all about how you think about it, not about the reality.


After all, this is how the United States got started in the first place. Our forefathers were extremely unhappy and chose to believe there was a better life out there. All they had to do was go and get it.


Their reality was oppressive enough to risk their lives and the lives of their children to change it.


But they decided to change it because they believed they could do better. The other option would have been to blame the monarchy for their lot in life and do nothing.


Get it?


We are all held down only for as long as we believe these crappy stories. There are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of success stories from the poorest, most oppressed people in history. These success stories ALL START WITH the epiphany that the oppressed have an opportunity and a truckload of hurdles to overcome… just like everyone else. The epiphany in these cases marks the end of the blame game. They choose to take responsibility for their own lives and craft a reality with whatever wealth and power suit them.


Frustrated Blame MEME

They choose to believe it’s out there for them and they can get it by focusing on what they have instead of what they don’t have.


Isn’t that interesting?





The second that you begin to compare the real challenges along your journey to the perceived ease of someone else’s journey, you’ve lost.


This is clear proof that Sun Tzu was right, “Every battle is either won or lost before it is fought.”


Frustrated What Do You Have MEMEDid you think about how so many of the wealthy and powerful people came from nothing or do you just focus on their wealth and power which you don’t have yet?


Did you ever wonder how those souls somehow managed to climb out of the most impoverished circumstances growing up to run multi-million dollar businesses and even countries?


Why them and not you?


The reality is they’re living breathing proof that the poor can become rich.


Frustrated Sun Tzu Quote

Don’t they prove every day that the 99% can rise to enter the 1% if they want to?


Doesn’t every poor person, minorities and majorities included, who creates real wealth bust the myth that the 1% is a “closed club”?



So, it’s a choice everyone makes. Either they move forward and succeed by taking responsibility for all their life’s potholes or they choose to give up and blame “the man”.


Here’s a factual reality. This is a list of every country’s GDP growth (or lack thereof) last year. In the United States, our Gross Domestic Product grew 1.6%. This is your proof that the “pie” got BIGGER. There’s plenty of room for you too. When you think in terms of trillions of GDP imagedollars, 1.6% is an ASTOUNDING amount of room. If the reality was that money was finite there would be no growth in the GDP of any country. The rich would get richer and the poor would get poorer with the exact same amount of total money.


There are certain groups of people who believe that being rich and powerful is bad. They believe that somehow wealth and power means you’re horrible, bad, evil, and therefore oppressing others.




Frustrated Belief created by the have nots



This belief was created by the have-nots as an excuse for their lot in life. Can you see that?





The reality is quite the opposite. The wealthy have many businesses which employ many people so instead of oppressing them, they’re employing them. Giving them a job and a way of life. A way to put food on the table and put their kids through college.


How is that bad?


Isn’t it funny how these beliefs can cloud our perspective?


Frustration Mother Teresa


Mother Teresa was sainted by the Catholic Church shortly after her death. She was called “The saint of the gutters”, she gave hundreds of thousands of hugs to the poorest people in India, and even won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.


But that’s all she had to give, bless her heart.


Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and famous multi-billionaire literally wiped out a handful of diseases and saved millions of lives in Africa with one check.




Frustrated Bill Gates Wealth



One check from an evil rich guy changed millions of lives. I’m not taking anything away from Mother Teresa because she gave her heart and soul to providing comfort to the sick and downtrodden. But she didn’t cure any diseases. She didn’t have anything to give these people to save their lives. I’m sure she would’ve if she had it, but she didn’t have it to give.


How do you think about this issue?





Some of you despise the rich and powerful so much you believe that they should spread their wealth around giving “back” to the poor as if they stole from them to get rich in the first place. You want them to pay the masses in the form of a donation, tax, or government redistribution of wealth.


They all do but you don’t hear about it on TV because that news doesn’t sell ads.


Can you clearly see how this line of thinking is subconsciously fostering the idea that there is only so much to go around? If there is a finite amount of wealth, the only way the poor people are going to get theirs is if the wealthy share it.


But if wealth is abundant, the poor can get theirs on their own.


To be clear, there are plenty of wealthy and poor alike who share their money and their far more valuable time. I’m not making an argument as to whether anyone should or shouldn’t share or “give back”.

Frustrated Wealth Money MEME


I am challenging the way you think about these concepts and where wealth must come from.




You give because you have a big heart. You want to see others succeed and move up in society. But we’ve all given too much at times to someone who simply isn’t interested in moving up, only taking.


Therefore, how we think about opportunity, wealth, power, and success is the determining factor to a life’s transformation. It’s not about the opportunities. If it was just about getting opportunities and/or money, your taking friend would’ve transformed. But he or she didn’t step up and just remember how heartbreaking that was for you.


Frustrated Taking Friend

We are humans and as such we are a product of the information we receive. This is exactly why battered wives and abused children think they’re worthless.


It’s because that’s what they’ve been told. It is a psychological fact that if you’re told something enough, it becomes a reality, a truth in your mind. A lie told 7 times by the liar becomes truth in the liar’s mind.


Sadly, there are some countries where accessing the information necessary to transform a life for the better is practically impossible. These are the real victims of the world. They’re being oppressed by their government and the only way to change it is to literally risk their lives and the lives of their families.


Frustrated How To Think MEMEBut if you’re reading this article, you have choices. You have access to information. You have the ability to seek out knowledge and learn how to think. That was what University was supposed to be about in the first place, teaching us how to think.




We all can change the narrative in our minds. We can all become “successful” whatever you deem that word to mean.


True happiness and personal success start with learning how to think, people.


Happiness, wealth, and power are quite abundant in our world. Achievable by all who figure out that the only one standing in our way is us.


P.S. When we do figure that out, it’s a constant battle because we’re always in our own way. The self-awareness helps us to put our energy towards the real problem, but it never goes away.










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Music Second Feature MEME 2

I’m about to piss you off.

Music Second Angry Emoji


But keep reading because it’s important.


Growing your audience is NOT about the music anymore.


It used to be that way because the process dictated it.


The quality of your music today has nothing do with getting fans/customers when you’re marketing online.





It’s ok because the music is still super important, but the process of getting your art In front of new eyeballs has changed.


Radio and TV were the old way to expand a new artist’s audience. Back in the day, the music was what was being played on the radio or a TV show so the music came first because the music came first in the marketing process.


Think about that. We heard the music first (and enough times) before we asked about who the artist was. The discovery process started with the music.


Now the opposite is true because, for the moment, it has to be that way.


Music Second Robe


Maybe you work a job remotely from home. You can do that job in your underwear and a robe because your appearance isn’t mission critical to your success every day. If you have to go into an office, you’d better play the part, right? I’m not saying that any attire is more important to you than the robe, but I am saying the outcome depends on the situation and the situation depends on the platform.



You will hear music business veterans tell you, “It’s incredible what a really good hit song can accomplish” and they would be right…in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s, but not today. Not exactly because it’s changed.


When the music came first a hit song could break an artist but now the music comes second so who will hear it?


Music Second Monkees MEME

I’m generalizing, of course, but is this how you want to construct your business plan? Do you want to place all your hopes and dreams on a blueprint that requires you to be an exception to the rule? Is your success strategy based on winning the lottery?




Do you really want to be the artist in 2017 or 2018 with a record deal, boatloads of talent, but no audience?


Be careful what you ask God for because I know a ton of these artists and they’re sitting on a shelf at a label waiting. They’re on the back burner.  Their label deal and $2.51 will get them a venti drip at Starbucks.


Music Second Unanswered Prayers MEME



Today the artist, a fan’s relationship with the artist, and good marketing come first. The music comes second because you won’t find an audience anymore on the radio.




Let me articulate that point more clearly. You won’t find an audience anymore on the radio.

This is because people used to be forced to listen to new songs, now they have choicesPeople are choosing NOT to listen to the radio.


Here are a couple facts to support this argument. The big three companies that own the majority of the P1 (major market) radio stations are CBS, Clear Channel (aka IHeartRadio/iHeartMedia), and Cumulus.


CBS has spun off (aka sold) all of their stations. In plain English, CBS is out of the radio business.


Why?music Second CBS Radio


They’re losing money.


Why are they losing money?



Because radio makes their money on advertising revenue. The size of any given platforms audience directly determines the amount of money they can charge for advertising. Think about the Super Bowl.  The cost of a 30-second ad is so outrageous because 1 billion people are going to watch it all at the same time.


Music Second Burning Money DODO MEME


But nobody is listening to the radio so the revenue checks kept getting smaller and smaller coinciding with their declining listenership. But the overhead (outgoing checks) are the same. The cost of maintaining the equipment, taxes, admin staff, talent payroll, and performance license expenses is the same if they’re not increasing.




Why do you think they created the “Jack FM” or “Bob FM” formats?  The marketing precept that they’re “playing what we want” is designed to divert your attention from the fact that these platforms have no DJ’s. No DJ’s means fewer expenses.


Get it?Music Second Jack FM Logo


When a business or industry is on the way up the bell curve, the visionaries are at the helm taking risks and changing the world by serving the customer better. When that industry is on the way down, the bean counters come in to manage the decline. That’s a fact no matter what industry you’re in.





Clear Channel (IHeartRadio) just released their 2017 first quarter report and it looks like they’re going to declare bankruptcy for the second time. They’re done. The government will break them up and sell off the pieces. Look at Clear Channel’s stock price it’s essentially flat-lined at its lowest level ever for the last year.


I PROMISE Cumulus is right behind CBS and Clear Channel.




Because the market has changed.


There’s your proof that radio isn’t working anymore. For radio to work, you need to have millions of people listening and hardly anyone is listening anymore because we got smartphones and a million easy ways to play our jam.


Our “Jam” is what we all want to hear. We don’t want to listen to anything new.


Because you’re not listening to the radio means you don’t have to “suffer” through listening to new songs from new artists. You can satisfy that pleasure point in your brain immediately by playing a song you know rather than taking a risk on one you don’t.


So, the market has changed and is continuing to morph, is it not?


The marketing strategies must adjust to the changing market.


Music Second Adapt MEME



We have to adapt and switch to online marketing. Masses of people are not going to listen to anyone’s new song online like they did in radio. It just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.




You MUST understand that social media and the internet are mediums but those mediums are consumed differently than radio. If you don’t understand this fact, you’re sure to fail.


Here’s an example. When I started in the mortgage industry I was an exceptional cold caller. I worked for a multi-billion-dollar company (initially) and they taught you to make 200 calls a day to get 3-5 applications. One day a guy picked up the phone and after my greeting, he sighed. He told me, “Johnny, you’re the 70th person that I don’t know to call me today about doing my mortgage.




I thought there has to be a better way.


Music Second Risk



I drastically changed my approach from the norm and took a risk. A big risk. The recording studio in my house allowed me to create and record a radio show. My buddy agreed to partner up so if it failed I only was responsible for 50% of the downside.





We picked a station and made a deal. They sold us time on Saturdays in 30-minute slots. It cost $450 per 30-minute slot and we had to commit to 6 months which turned this marketing idea and contract into a $12,000 bill.




Music Second 12,000



Jason and I recorded and broadcast our first show. We put some time into creating a format that had a beginning, middle, and end. The show was loaded with informative content that mortgage consumers would find value in.





Zero phone calls.


The next week we recorded and broadcast our second show.


Zero phone calls.


The third-week same format on the show that was broadcast.


Same result too, ZERO phone calls.


Right about then, as you can imagine, I WAS FREAKING OUT!!!!


I called the station manager for guidance. She asked me, “Johnny, are you feeling enough pain to listen to every word I’m going to tell you and do EXACTLY as I say?”

Music Second Bozo


I replied, “I will freaking wear a Bozo outfit with the big shoes and the horn if you tell me to.”




She informed me that the way we were formatting the show was incorrect. We had a 30-minute slot with 25 minutes of content to create (the other 5 was for commercials). Our problem was that we had structured our show like a television program. As if the listeners consumed radio the same way as they consume television. Which is a completely different medium. She told us that on Saturdays the listeners were out running around taking care of errands and catching bits and pieces of any radio show. Do you see how different that is to sitting down and giving their complete attention to the program like they do on a TV sitcom?


She said, “Instead of doing one 25-minute show, break it up into five 5-minute shows. Change the metaphors so you don’t bore the few people who are listening all the way through and mention your phone number every 2 minutes. I’m not kidding, put a timer by your mic and EVERY 2 MINUTES give your phone number. I promise the phone will ring.


Music Second Break Up 5 5 minutes

 We did just that. We adapted to the different medium that was consumed differently than what we were used to and BOOM.





We got 5 calls on that 4th show with 2 of them turning into loans. The revenue from those 2 loans paid for that $12,000 commitment and we were off and running. Within 5 months we were on 5 different stations in 3 different markets. We were receiving around 70-100 phone calls per weekend. That resulted in a steady monthly gross income of around $180,000-$300,000. That’s a business.


Here’s the takeaway. Social media and online marketing are consumed differently than television which is consumed differently than radio.


Music Second Phone CallsYou better know the difference.


The music doesn’t come first online. The artist does.


The music is important just like a product is important because great music and great products will get you repeat customers.


But you can’t get repeat customers without customers and getting customers online has nothing to do with the music or the product.


I’ll repeat that last part.


Getting new customers has nothing to do with the music or the product when you’re marketing online.










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Connect Feature MEME

Connect Fundamental FlawThe biggest fundamental flaw of the OLD AND NEW music business is that the creators and/or owners of the creations have no freaking idea who their customers are.


(Pssst, you’re the creator).



Yes, they have demographics, but they don’t have their contact information so they don’t REALLY know who they are exactly. It also means they can only reach out via mass media like TV and Terrestrial Radio.


Which costs millions.

But nobody is listening to the radio and certainly, nobody is watching music videos on TV anymore. Not like they used to.


Connect Mass Media MEME



Therefore, record sales suck.


Therefore, few new superstars are being created.





Half the artists who were in the top 10 grossing tours of 2016 were over 55-years-old because the market is largely unaware of the new talent. This is because nobody is listening to radio and watching videos on TV.


It’s also because the new artists aren’t trying to connect with their fans. They want to be rockstars like their heroes.


The world would be VASTLY different for indies, signed artists, and labels if they would stop “doing what they’ve always done” and expecting different results.


Connect Crazy MEME 2



Ahem, that’s the very definition of crazy.





Let me tell you a crazy story.


QUESTION: For decades and decades the richest people in Texas were in what industry exactly?


If you guessed the oil business, you’d be correct! The richest oil families in Texas are multi-billionaires and have been for quite some time.


Connect Oil TREATEDBack in the early to mid 90’s a now famous Texan decided to build a widget. He spent the money to hire the team to design the widget. He spent more money prototyping that widget to work out the kinks and get it functioning properly. He spent more money leasing the manufacturing space, hiring the manufacturing experts, purchasing the manufacturing equipment, and the necessary components to put that widget into mass production. Then he spent a literal fortune promoting that creation to ensure he was systematically penetrating the minds of consumers.




He created the product then he created the demand for the product.

Connect Texan






But this future-shaping, trend-setting Texan did one super important thing different.



You see, for centuries all the widget makers, that is to say all the creators, sold their creations through distribution. Typically, a creator would sell their product for half price to the distributor. Then, the distributor marks up the price to the full market value so they can make their profit. But these distributors don’t actually create anything. That was how it always worked if you wanted to sell anything. Clothing makers sold Connect Distributor Collagethrough huge distributors like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s.  Toys were sold through distributors like K-Mart, Target, and Toys-R-Us. Automakers sold through local privately-owned dealerships. Electronic parts makers sold their parts to original equipment manufacturers via huge multi-hundred-million-dollar publicly traded distribution companies. Airline and Cruise companies needed local travel agents to distribute their services. Farms and food companies sold their products to brick and mortar local grocery distribution companies like Kroger.


But our famous Texan was asking the right questions.



Why was it worth selling your product to a distributor for half the market value anymore?


What exactly did a distributor bring to the table thatConnect Distributor Valuable MEME 2 made it worth letting them stick their hands that far down the creator’s pocket?


Answer: A relationship with the customer. For some it was a relationship with millions of customers which made for some very powerful and profitable distributors.


They knew the end-users!


Back in the day, if your creation wasn’t in distribution you didn’t sell anything, period. So, it was mission critical. It was the way our fathers did it, and their fathers did it, and their fathers and so on.


That’s a super tough nut to crack, you know. All that history.


But our Texan didn’t want to sell his $1,000 widget to a distributor for $500. He felt that if he was the one smart enough to create the widget and courageous enough to take the risk of designing, prototyping, manufacturing, and marketing the product he should get 100% of the money for it!


Seems fair.

Connect 100 Percent of the Money MEMEPlus, distributors show exactly zero brand love. Macy’s is just as happy to sell a customer Wrangler jeans over Levi’s. They don’t care what you buy, they just want you to buy!





But there was another way.


A way to bypass the distributor now because we had this new thing called the internet. (I feel like you should say that line in Dr. Evil’s voice using your fingers as air quotes; In-ter-net).


Connect Dr Evil



The internet would allow a creator who formerly had to pay big money to advertise via mass media (like darts in the dark if you ask me considering today’s alternatives) to connect and create a relationship with their customer.





Think about that.


That creator could have complete control over their customer’s experience.


That creator could become profitable faster because they’d have to sell half as many products to make the same amount of money that they would collect via distribution.


CONNECT Dell Computer Logo


You’ve probably figured out that our mystery genius is Michael Dell of Austin, TX. He became the first computer manufacturer to utilize the internet as a tool to create a direct relationship with the end-user/customer that he worked so hard and paid so much to reach.





His plan worked because within 7 years, Dell became the richest man in Texas.


That was in the late 90’s and early 2,000’s.


As of last year, according to Forbes Magazine, Michael Dell is worth 19.1 billion dollars. The nearest oil family is worth a paltry 8.9 billion. Poor babies.


Connect Michael Dell Forbes

That tells me the plan REALLY worked.


But the story doesn’t end there because Dell changed the world.





For decades if you were an electronic component manufacturer and your components were in an Apple product, you HAD to go through distribution because they had a relationship with your end-user that you couldn’t have. So, you sold your $1 diode for .50 cents and made money in the massive amounts of volume.


But after Dell Computer, you built a website and the engineers at Apple could contact you directly about questions, feedback, new products, ideas, etc. Little by little over the following 15 years the parts companies refused to renegotiate their distribution contracts because they didn’t need them anymore. They now possessed the one thing they used to pay the distributor for; a relationship with Apple (aka their end user). As a result, those multi-hundred-million-dollar-publicly-traded distribution companies imploded over time.


Connect Intel Logo

All gone.


All the local travel agencies vanished seemingly overnight.


Now consumers could access cruise lines and airline companies directly to purchase tickets without paying a commission because they didn’t need the travel agent anymore.



Did you notice how quickly the brand name outlet malls popped up around America? Companies like Levis, Coach, Hilfiger, Reebok, etc. couldn’t sell direct on their own but they damn sure could if they clustered with the other brand names and gave consumers a beehive of multiple brand names which sold their products discounted prices from the distributors.


Connect Outlet MallsCompanies that didn’t adapt like K-Mart and Sears fell into crippling debt.


How about the auto industry? GM purchased back tons of once privately owned dealerships because the consumers were only coming on the car lot to test drive the vehicle they wanted to purchase. The consumers didn’t need the salesmen for knowledge. Shockingly, consumers were literally more educated on the product than the salesman when it came to options on the vehicles. Why? Because the end user could research the product directly on the manufacturer’s website.




Mind Blown.


It all happened because one really smart guy was able to adapt in a changing environment.


One clever person was asking the right questions even though he didn’t have all the answers yet.

Connect Adapt MEME


QUESTION: What does Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes have that the labels, signed artists, and indie artists don’t have?


ANSWER: A relationship with their customers.




Which is a relationship with the label’s customers.


Also a relationship with your customers.


The labels aren’t adapting because distribution is always how they’ve done it. Just like all those other computer companies back in the late 90’s.


Make sense, right?


Which means these distributors have tons of information on these customers that would help artists and labels make more money.


But they won’t share that information with labels and artists.


Connect They Wont Share


Why won’t they share that information with you, the signed artists, and the labels?


Because the second they do, they would become irrelevant, just like travel agents.




I wonder how the world will change after artists, labels, managers, and publishers open their eyes like Michael Dell and take total control of our precious creations?











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Traffic Feature MEME

Where is your traffic coming from?

Traffic Record Deal MEME


Have you ever asked yourself that?


My guess is no, because it’s clear to me that most artists and industry execs don’t ask, don’t know, and don’t care. They just want to continue doing what used to work and bitching about why it doesn’t.

Your power, money, influence, and legacy lie in the size of your audience.


Do you want a record deal?


Great, get an audience. One that’s big enough to make you sexy to the labels.


How about management?


They’ll come crawling out of woodwork like a horror movie infestation scene if you have a sizable audience.


Maybe you’re just looking for killer gigs.


Yes, you guessed it, build an audience and you’ll magically have booking agents who’ll lie down in traffic for you. You’ll also develop great relationships with the club owners. It’s an amazing feeling when the bar owner tells you that the band’s bar tab was $450 that night and then rips it up in front of your face because you packed the house!


Now you’re probably thinking, “But Johnny, how can I get an audience without management, booking agents, or a label deal?


To that I say, “Precisely!


Now you’re asking the right questions!!


The answers will be different for each of you.

Whether you know it or not, believe it or not, and accept it or not, the truth is that you will NOT get a label, management, or bookings just because you have talent.


Unless you’re independently wealthy, managers and booking agents get paid on commission. This means that if you aren’t already making money there is nothing for them to make.



Simple math.


You might be thinking, they should just believe in me because I’m awesome, talented, and full of potential. Well, would you do that? Could you afford to believe In someone for free, for as long as it’s going to take to get you to a point of cash flowing?


What if the artist you believe in wakes up one day and decides to get married, have kids, settle down, and get a 9-5 job? You’d be screwed. Bottom line they need to get paid and until you find your audience, it’ll be slim pickin’s on viable booking agents and managers.


You’d be amazed a how many investors will be willing to put skin in the game if you have an audience as well.


Traffic Labels Don't Care abt Talent MEMELabels don’t care about your talent initially. Yes, they want you to be talented but talent and no audience means no label deal. Moderate talent and a sizable audience means you’ll get attention because labels are buying small businesses these days.


So where do you find your audience?


Since the first musical note was every played there has only been one way to build an audience; place talent in front of new sets of eyeballs and let the talent do their thing. To do that you need eyeballs to put the talent in front of which means you need traffic.


In the old days, traffic came from a few different places like MTV, CMT, GAC, BET, Radio, Television, magazines, certain music clubs, and the draw from an already established headlining act. When an artist or label wanted to expand the artist’s audience, they created content to plug into some or all of these outlets and Voila! You immediately create attention which turns into traffic.


Traffic Audience Formula MEMEThe principles of growing an artist’s audience are the same today in that we have to expose the artist to new eyeballs. But the old outlets don’t work anymore because most of them don’t have enough, if any eyeballs.



The problem now is the methods for executing this simple mission critical task have changed and the new paths to create traffic seem to be confusing industry and artists alike.




Rule #1: Ask yourself “Where is the traffic coming from?”Traffic Where is the Traffic Coming From MEME



Here’s what I mean.


Let’s take any TV talent show like American Idol, Nashville Star, or The Voice. Did they build an audience for their respective TV shows by presenting incredibly talented unknown artists singing their original songs?


No. Trust me there is a reason for that so why would you try to attempt to do it on your little platforms when the TV shows won’t do it on their big platforms?


They present incredible raw talent singing cover songs.


By the way, shows like these that introduced new and raw talent via cover songs gave us artists like Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, Kelly Clarkson, and Melanie Martinez.


Traffic TV Show Logo Collage



Oh, and before TV shows like these, artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin cleverly worked their way into the minds of consumers using cover songs as a crow bar.





Once these kinds of TV shows created an audience where did the traffic come from?


Answer: The TV show.


Why is this important?

Because the traffic source affects the kinds of song choices an up and coming artist will need to use to be successful.


The TV show provides the traffic when an artist like Carrie Underwood appears on American Idol.  So, a certain song choice will make or break the artist’s outcome in the competition (making a good song choice for the artist is important for THAT reason). But the traffic is the same either way because the traffic comes for the show, not the artist or the songs. Thus, old familiar songs that the artist covers in a compelling manner are a solid choice, provided the artist can deliver a great performance.


But this strategy is NOT a good choice on YouTube if the artist is doing covers.

Traffic Independence Day




Rule #1: Where’s the traffic coming from?


Carrie Underwood performed Martina McBride’s “Independence Day”after she made it to the Top 10 on A.I.


Killer song. I love that song. It TOTALLY worked for her on TV because the audience was there for the show but it wouldn’t work on YouTube because nobody is searching for it.


There’s no traffic for “Independence Day” so nobody will see the cover version.


Therefore, when it comes to YouTube covers, the traffic comes from new releases that JUST DROPPED. The sooner you cover the song, i.e., the closer your cover is posted to YouTube with relation to the release date of the original, the more traffic you’ll get for two reasons:

1. The original artist’s audience will be feverishly searching for that new song.

2. There will be less competition because most wannabe artists are lazy and will take a few days to post their cover.


Traffic The CLIMB Logo


A good success example is a guy named Jonathan Cochran. Jonathan is a regular listener to my podcast called The C.L.I.M.B. and decided to test out this strategy (my co-host, hit songwriter Brent Baxter and I have discussed it multiple times). Jonathan posted his interpretation of a new song from Miley Cyrus called “Malibu” either the day of, or the day after it originally dropped.  The results were astounding, but somewhat predictable. In 24 hours, he tripled his subscribers and garnered 6,500 views.





That’s 6,500 people who just discovered Jonathan Cochran. Now he’s up to over 10,000 views.


The traffic came because people were searching for Miley’s new song. Do you see how the song choice determines traffic on YouTube?


How about live shows?

If you’re asking where is the traffic coming from, the answer will influence your approach to marketing every show. But be aware each show might require a different approach.


Traffic Hammerjacks Ent Group Logo


The club scene was pretty happening back in the late 80’s and early 90’s when I toured. A certain amount of traffic was coming to club every weekend regardless of the talent and it was our job to SLAY it and keep the crowd. We would deliver and the audience would grow because enough of them would spread the word.




Conversely, when I moved to L.A., the clubs operated on a “Pay-To-Play” basis. Once you secured a gig, it was up to you to sell tickets (to earn your investment back because you had to pay for Effing tickets to your own show) to bring people in.


Traffic Pay To PlayAn artist must adapt in this environment.


It’s weird but each artist’s audiences would show up for a 30-minute set and then leave. I hated that. You could be hanging in the Viper Room on Sunset and one minute it would be wall to wall people, then the next, desolation boulevard.


My solution was to get together with a promoter friend of mine and package up deals with artists that had audiences and encourage those artists to urge their fans to hang out. We fostered this approach with timed drink deals to keep people incentivized to hang.





In this scenario, the traffic was coming from each of the artist’s draws so THAT was what we had to work with.


This resulted in a string of killer shows where all the artists were exposed to new eyeballs over the course of the evening AND it deepened the relationships between the bands…as long as they weren’t douchebags. But I digress because, of course, we had our share of those.


Traffic Digital Distributors Logos

When you’re deciding on a digital distributor like CD Baby, Tunecore, or Distrokid, most of y’all are misguided in thinking that one choice over the other will affect traffic.


Where does the traffic come from in digital distribution?


Answer: YOU.


Once you understand that, you’ll focus on the distribution and make choices that are based on business. But the traffic comes as a result of your marketing, not people “stumbling” across you on a digital distributor like Spotify or something similar.


When you consider spending money on a music video for an original release, ask yourself, “Where will the traffic come from?”


Traffic Music Channels Logos


If you have a massive audience the traffic will come from there. If you don’t, you’re making a video that nobody will see. This is sad but true. It’s also vastly different from the 80’s and 90’s when you made a video to put it up on MTV, CMT, BET, or GAC. Back then, these channels had massive audiences watching music videos so it made sense. Make a video and that video would get the artist in front of millions of new eyeballs.





But who’s watching now? Most of these channels focus way more on scripted and reality programming than music video programming. See why it’s different?


If you make a music video and you KNOW you’re not going to get it on MTV, CMT, GAC, BET, etc, then you’re just putting it up on YouTube.


Where’s the traffic coming from on YouTube?


Answer: Nowhere.


Is there another way you could spend your precious time and money in this market to ensure that your work is being exposed to new people every day?


It’s all about traffic.


Before you spend a dime or a minute of your time on a marketing plan, ask yourself, “Where is the traffic coming from?”


When you honestly research and answer that question, your marketing decisions will become exponentially more effective and it will be immediate.










If this article made sense to you, it might make sense for someone else too. Please SHARE it and COMMENT below.

CD Ticket Feature

As one of Daredevil Production’s newest members, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Cody Upchurch, and I started working for the CD Music has always been Essentialcompany a little over two weeks ago.  In that short amount of time, I have obtained an abundance of knowledge that only hands-on experience can provide.  After just 2 weeks, many of my preconceived notions about the music industry still hold true but some of my opinions have drastically changed. This epiphany happened after receiving a deeper understanding of how the business ACTUALLY works.


Like many of you, I have always thought that in order for an artist to be an artist, they first must have a CD or EP but I now know that this approach is categorically false. Sounds crazy, I know, but let me explain.


When I first arrived in Nashville, it became immediately apparent that the city is flooded with talented musicians.  They’re playing at every bar, and they’re damn good at what they do.  If you were to pluck any of these acts off the stage and ask them what they need for a “big break,” I can almost guarantee their first answer would be a CD, EP, or album.  Sure, it would be nice to have an album under your belt, but that’s not the ticket for success. It’s definitely not the first step to artistic success anymore. This is a common misconception that, unfortunately, too many musicians have.


Honestly, I would have given a similar answer before arriving in Nashville, but after working with actual musicians and helping them work towards realizing their dreams, it has become quite clear that nothing equates to the importance of marketing before the CD.


CD Marketing is a vital PillarStructurally speaking, I always knew that marketing was one of the most vital pillars in establishing an artist’s career, but I never realized the extent to which record labels shape their budgets according to this philosophy.  In the label mind, marketing outranks your recording by a landslide.  They care less about what the artist is putting out, and more about how many people will listen to it (because it’s good!).  Labels will do whatever they can to ensure they recoup their investment or at least get as close as possible.  This is done by spending the majority of their monetary resources on marketing.  If the marketing is effective in its intent, enough intrigue can be generated to ensure a substantial amount of people purchase the product.


What would be the point of releasing an album or CD if no one knows it exists?

But this is what EVERY indie artist does, isn’t it? They release the CD first. Then think about marketing to an audience of zero but their artist soul, hopes, and dreams crumble when they discover nobody cares. But they do care. The problem is they just don’t know about the artist and in today’s market, the music is going to change that.


CD Everybody wants to release a CD butThis is a fact that, for some reason, many musicians choose to ignore.  Everybody wants to release an album, but nobody wants to think about marketing.  While you have the power to allocate your money as you see fit, don’t expect that album to be your saving grace if you haven’t marketed YOURSELF properly before releasing it.  And posting on Facebook a week before your album release is NOT marketing.  In a world before the internet, radio did the marketing for us (which meant the music came first), but not today.  Now our phones are the radio, and every individual is the DJ of their own show.  Thus, it is inherent that YOU put YOURSELF onto people’s stations.  This isn’t done by releasing a song and expecting people to slide it into their rotation.


You must make an effort to connect with people on a personal level before you present them with a product to purchase or they just won’t care.

Once these connections are made, it is essential that you maintain the relationships and retain everyone’s information as best you can.  Most artists, labels included place fans into specified demographics.  Whether it be gender, race, age, etc., the analytics only give you a general idea of who your fans are.  While this is extremely helpful in deciding how you should market your material, the most beneficial move an artist can make for his or her own career is to get specific information on each fan.  This allows for surgical precision when it comes time to market the product you are trying to sell.

Another bit of online etiquette that my time in Nashville has taught me, is the importance of being personal with as many people as possible.

CD Shake hands and Make PlansThe most fireproof way to ensure someone supports your future endeavors is to communicate with them, by having REAL conversations.



Social media gives us the power to chat with the people we admire, all without ever leaving our house.  The more interactive the conversation is, the stronger the loyalty between fan and artist becomes.  Back in the day, an artist’s interaction with fans occurred only through live performances, interviews, and the occasional public spotting.  They didn’t have to worry about communicating with them on a regular basis because that technology didn’t exist.  Today, however, it is expected that artists not only have a presence on social media but actively use it to converse with fans.


CD Real Conversation is important

Retweets and Likes are a necessary mission-critical first step but a genuine back-and-forth is the most effective in developing a relationship.




Imagine social media as a sidewalk.  As you’re walking down the street, you see one of your favorite musicians hanging out on the corner.  You immediately begin to wave and express your praise, hoping that he or she not only waves back but speaks to you on a personal level.  Social media presents this scenario on a daily basis and makes it easier than ever for artists to connect with fans on a deeper level.  I see a Like as a slight head nod or wave, a Retweet as a spoken “Hello,” and an actual conversation as just that, a conversation.  Imagine someone that you’re a fan of acknowledging you to the point where they ask follow up questions and keep the conversation moving forward.  Not only would that make your day, but the chances of you supporting them financially (i.e. purchasing their music) increase exponentially.


CD Social media SidewalkOnce you remove yourself from the perspective of the artist and start looking through the eyes of a fan, real interaction begins to make more sense.




Now, you may be thinking what’s the point of marketing if we don’t have something to sell, but did you notice all these tactics I wrote about have exactly nothing to do with a CD or EP? You can start on the “building a relationship” piece of the puzzle right now without one song ever being recorded. It is important to understand this because the public won’t care about your music until after they care about you. If you truly understand this fact, why would you dare wait to begin your marketing strategy? Build up a rabid YouTube and social media fan base and THEN record a single.


I promise you’ll be amazed at the results.


I look forward to diving deeper into this topic, as well as countless others during my time with Daredevil Production this summer.  Just remember, the tools are in your hand, why not utilize them?

Mistakes Feature MEME

No one will care about your music without marketing.


Mistakes ZERO new people MEMEExactly zero new people will hear your music to care about it without marketing yet so many indie artists continue to make these mistakes.


Nobody needs new music so they don’t care about your music because it’s new.


Great art does NOT find its own audience and it never has. There has ALWAYS been a clever, hard-working marketer ensuring that new people are exposed to the artist’s work. PERIOD.


Why do you think record labels have marketing and promo divisions?


Mistakes Record Label Budgets MEME


Whether you want to believe it or not, whether you know it or not, a record label will give you 10% of the budget to make your record. They will use 90% of the budget for marketing.


How does that jive with your budget percentages?



My guess is most of you give zero dollars for marketing or the recipe is severely flip-flopped with maybe 10% going to marketing. It’s these mistakes that will crush you!


Too many artists have a false believe that they “need” to make a 10-12 song CD to succeed.


Mistakes CD You Don't Need a CD MEMEFALSE.


Other artists believe that they need to make a 5-6 song EP to succeed.




You are telling yourself stories if you believe this. This is your ego talking.


I get it, this is and has always been your dream but this is a sure-fire way to FAIL.


Has your dream always been to make a CD or was more like you thought that CD would lead to a career?


Wait, if your intention is to make a CD just for you and yours then you won’t fail. They’re surely going to listen to it. But if your intention or real dream is to be a professional artist, then this is a horrible decision.


When you aren’t clear on your intention, the “dream” can skew your vision causing you to make crippling, sometimes career-ending money decisions.


I remember speaking to a really nice artist on the phone who was hell bent on making a CD. He had a ridiculously small budget of $2,500.

His thinking was that he NEEDED a 10 song CD (because that was his dream) and so he went looking for someone who would record these 10 songs for $2,500.


Mistakes CD Do You Want a Career MEME



Guess what?


He found him.


I PROMISE if you’re hell bent on anything, you’ll find what you’re looking for.  Of course, there were ZERO dollars allotted for marketing from that $2,500 budget.





Which sadly, is probably a good thing, if I’m being honest, because the quality of those recordings at $250 a song (keep in mind the artist was NOT an engineer, did NOT own any recording software, nor a studio of any kind) are going to be atrocious.


Artists need to take a breath and decide, RIGHT NOW, what exactly they are trying to accomplish.


If you’re just recording the songs for yourself, for friends and family, or your significant other, then awesome. There is no wrong answer.


If your intention is to get your music out to the world and you create a crappy sounding product, you will have crappy results. GUARANTEED. Your songs and the recordings have to compete with what’s on the radio right now.

Mistakes Hiding MEME




If you execute zero marketing on that crappy sounding production or on the most beautiful recordings ever, you will have crappy results too. GUARANTEED.





If you manage the budget for your project like it was for friends and family but then grow angry and bitter when the world doesn’t freak out about your art, you’re completely missing the boat. Why would they care if they’ve never heard about it?


I have news for you, your first CD or EP isn’t going to sell. You’re not going to make your money back.


Mistakes Angry Not OK MEME



This is NOT news.





MOST major label artists end up in debt after the first record. The label spends a couple million dollars on marketing a $200,000 record and maybe they sell 50,000 units.  Nowhere near enough to recoup the initial investment.


But the artist’s brand name is now a reality in the minds of a few consumer/fans.


Mistakes In Debt Record Deal MEME



Then the second effort comes out, and things are looking better. The artist has a little rabid fan base that is eager to hear the next release. The second record usually sells far better than the first. Hopefully enough to break even on the recording and promotion costs. You’re hopefully BUILDING the whole time.


Then on the 3rd record, the artist blows up, the records start selling, and everybody starts making money.


It’s a long game.


Marketing your music is NOT like opening a lemonade stand where you make a profit on every transaction or pull up the stakes.


Mistakes Lemonade Stand MEME


Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty and Def Leppard all had breakthrough records and record sales on the 3rd release.


Think about that. You need to know this.




Your first record isn’t going to sell because you don’t have an audience to sell it to.


Your first record isn’t going to sell because your future audience doesn’t care about your music right now.


The way Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Def Leppard accumulated their audience is DIFFERENT than the method you’re going to acquire yours.


Mistakes UnderwearThe old record business was about the music first. I’m not speaking about the quality of music (although it must be AMAZING), and I’m not speaking about the importance of music. I’m articulating THE MARKETING PROCESS.


When you put your clothes on in the morning you start with your underwear. There is a process to execute this task or you’ll look like an idiot.



In the old record business, the PROCESS was to release the music and launch the artist brand on radio where each market had massive reach and repetition. Consumers were essentially forced to hear that debut single multiple times while waiting to hear their “jam” because they didn’t have choices.


I am CONSTANTLY approached by indie artists who want me to “market their CD”.


It doesn’t work that way anymore. If they’re only focused on marketing the CD rather than creating a brand, they’ll be disappointed.


The beginning of your artist journey is NOT about marketing music and merch (although these can be a byproduct), rather it’s about creating a brand.


Mistakes Audience First MEME

Do you want to succeed as an artist?





If you do, you’re going to need an audience. Unlike the old days, your music is NOT going to generate that audience for you.




The artist comes first now.


Mistakes Build An Audience MEME

Guess what? You don’t need ANY tracks, exactly ZERO recordings to begin marketing your brand.


You can start building an audience, aka a fan base by intelligently using YouTube, and all social media platforms.


Build up an audience first and then release one single and GIVE IT AWAY.


You’re not trying to make money at this point, this is what I mean by “long-game”.


You ARE trying to create and deepen relationships.


Then repeat the process on a second single.


Continue to build relationships.


Mistakes Time MEME

If you suck at creating relationships on social media you’ll need to get better because it’s the only way you’re going to be successful.


Your education on this matter will require a little bit of money and TON of time. Find the time or face the facts.




No time means no career. Period. (but this is true of any career, isn’t it?)


If you refuse to spend the massive amounts of time it takes to create relationships on social media, then go get a day job. Your future in the music business will be one of frustration, aggravation, and bewilderment.


Nobody will care about you because nobody will be aware that you exist because you refuse to reach out to them in an intelligent manner.


The new music business industry wants you to be talented, trust me, but they don’t care about your talent. They care about your audience.


If you’re waiting till you finish the project to begin marketing you don’t get it and you’re going to fail.


Mistakes New Music Biz MEMEThis is true for record labels too. They’re still trying to do it the old way spending obscene amounts of money on P1 (major market) radio only to find that nobody is aware of the artist because new artists DON’T BREAK ON RADIO ANYMORE.


It’s all about YOU first.


I’ll say it again, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU FIRST.


You have to create the relationships first before they’ll care about listening to your music.


The process has changed. Pretending like it hasn’t isn’t going to do a damn thing to help your career.


Underwear first, then your pants or dress.


Find your audience first, then release your single.


Get it?











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High-Resolution FEATURE MEME

You drive into any ghetto in the USA and you can find an 8-year-old kid selling crack on the street corner. The shoes he chooses to wear are usually the most expensive Air Jordan sneakers.


High-Resolution Air JordansBut the kid is 8.


That means he was born in 2009.


Michael Jordan retired in 1993, 16 years before the kid was born.


Odds are he’s probably never even seen a single video of Michael Jordan playing basketball.


Why then, are these shoes so relevant to him that he would spend $280 on a pair?


Answer: Because everyone else is doing it.


This is great marketing. The value to the kid comes from society, not the fact that he has any awareness of Michael Jordan.


Great marketing works on music and the price of music as well, more on that in a second.


Everybody in the industry complains about how there is no more value in recorded music.


They also bitch about the fact that consumers don’t know good sonic quality from poor sonic quality.  They seem perfectly content to settle for crappy sound. If they did know the difference and they all made their purchase decisions on the actual quality of audio, they never would’ve bought CD’s to begin with.


High-Resolution MP3 Over Article

Last week the industry ditched MP3’s for AAC’s both of which sonically don’t come close to competing with WAV files which pale in comparison to analog.








Consumers don’t purchase music based on the quality of the file for the quality’s sake.


It’s obviously about the song but we can be smarter. This doesn’t have to be negative.


I was listening to the hosts of The Music Biz Weekly Podcast discuss Pono Music’s plans to become a high-resolution streaming service. Every one of their points was spot on (I love this podcast) but they missed the boat one very important fact; consumers don’t shop based on value.

High-Resolution Music Biz Weekly Podcast Logo


We all like to think we do but we don’t.


We all shop by comparison.


The only reason music fans glommed onto the CD, a format quality which was exponentially inferior to vinyl, was because they were told to.


Equally so for the MP3. Steve Jobs sold a fancy new device called the iPod which could hold “1,000 songs in your pocket” but only if they were in an MP3 format.


High-Resolution iPod Ad

We loved 1,000 songs in our pocket enough to care less about the audio quality.





Yes, the sonic difference between digital and analog is certainly more apparent with dynamic music like jazz and symphonic music.


Modern music is so compressed only experts can tell the difference.


It’s also true that most consumers these days are listening to their music through ear buds which are drastically subordinate to a larger powered speaker with regards to the frequency spectrum.


High-Resolution EarbudsSo what?


It doesn’t matter.


The argument that all these factors are the reason that consumers won’t adopt better quality audio is hogwash.


It’s true, consumers can’t hear the difference!


It’s not as immediately apparent in the mind of the consumer as a brand-new car vs at rusted out piece-of-crap, although this would be an accurate sonic metaphor.


They can’t distinguish between superior and inferior sound quality because somebody (like Steve Jobs, for instance) never communicated the difference, made it cool, gave them a sufficient reason to purchase, and charged them more for the better quality.


High-Resolution Damn the Torpedoes

Music used to cost $3.00 per song. Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes came out in 1979 and cost $8.00.  Put that into an inflationary calculator and that $8.00 in 1979 is worth around $29.82 today’s dollars.





But Petty’s latest release, Hypnotic Eye, can be purchased on iTunes for $10.99 just like every other record.


This is because one man, Steve Jobs, said so.


If consumers went down in price because they were told to, we can certainly go up in price. The trick is to affect the consumer mind to believe it’s worth it.




High-Resolution Pono Music

Too many industry experts naturally and understandably want to attach the “worth” of the format to a tactile, tangible value. Just listen to that Music Biz podcast and you hear all the intelligent arguments.


Herein lies the mistake.


I’ll explain.


Pono Music was the self-proclaimed “pet project” of Neil Young that he initially funded (at least partially) by a Kickstarter campaign. Pono Music offered (for lack of a better term) “Super-HD” 192k, 24-bit audio files for $3.00 per song.


This was a genius idea, in my opinion, right up until Young went old school and required you to purchase a separate, expensive, clunky device to play the unique audio file required to deliver the Super-HD file.


High-Resolution pono Neil Young



This was an incredible missed opportunity.



The audiophile market has always been extremely small and certainly NEVER in the mainstream.


When vinyl was the ubiquitous format for music, there were sonic enthusiasts who would purchase insanely priced speakers and amplifiers to interpret their favorite recordings at a higher fidelity level than any normal market equipment.


High-Resolution SACDDuring the CD age, we had SACD formats which also provided high-resolution audio but you had to purchase a $3,000 – $20,000 CD player to hear it.


This was inconvenient obviously for the prohibitive cost, but also because the SACD wouldn’t work in the car.


Therefore, only audio elitists would spend that kind of cash to listen to the superior sound quality because they could hear the difference.


That previous statement is partly true. I personally know more than a few dudes who only had all the hottest audio products because someone told them they were the hottest audio products and they had the money to spend and people to impress.


High-Resolution SACD PlayerWhat Neil Young and Pono Music should have done was taken the hint from Gillette; GIVE them the razor and sell them on the blades.




Right now, the music industry has the capability to make everyone feel like and want to be an audiophile, or at least expand that market exponentially, while returning the value of recorded music to its original price at the same time.


High-Resolution Gillette Ad

See how they show you it’s worth it?


The industry can do this because, for the first time, it can be convenient for the consumer to actually be an audiophile if we would just be smart enough to make it that way.



For all the attention to detail that Jobs and Apple are known for in their superior quality products, they completely failed by installing the Quicktime audio player in the iTunes software.


High-Resolution QuickTime Equals Poop 2There is not a bigger piece of crap out there. Total disaster.


If you’ve ever listened to a stereo mix of a song in a recording studio as it plays in Pro-Tools (or any DAW) and then uploaded that same mix into iTunes and listened again, you know exactly what I’m talking about.


It’s like somebody hung some thick wet towels over the tweeters. It’s horrific! (Seriously, what Quicktime family member married someone from Apple to allow this to happen?)


For this reason, there is a company called Amarra Music Software that makes a plugin for iTunes which disengages the Shitateous Quicktime player and sends the signal through their high-resolution audio player.



High-Resolution Amarra Ad



The difference is astounding.






Everything is digital now, and outside devices are dead (even the iPod isn’t around anymore).


High-Resolution iPod NO MEME


Why doesn’t the record industry GIVE consumers an Amarra-like app for free? This app would allow consumers to play all their normal audio files plus the 192k 24-bit high-resolution files.


If we tell them the audio is better, and it truly is, they will purchase it provided it will work everywhere.






I’ve done it, by the way. I have proof this will work.


We tried a psychological marketing experiment on the Bailey James’ fans.


Follow me on this.


Everyone on Bailey’s list got there by downloading a free MP3 file of her latest single (at the time).


We sent out an email with the subject line “I have another gift for you”. In this email, Bailey explained in a video that she needed their opinion on something. She talked about how there was all this chatter regarding high-resolution audio with Jay-Z and Tidal, how HD Radio says they broadcast higher quality than XM-Sirius Satellite Radio (it’s true), and you can get high-resolution streams on the premium Spotify subscription.



Bailey then offered her stamp of approval and told them what to think (intentional neuro-linguistic programming here) by explaining that she’s been in the studio enough to tell the difference between an MP3 file and an HD file (HD file was simply a WAV but we branded it with a term that consumers would immediately understand). She illustrated how she could hear the bigger low-end and smoother highs when she cranks the song.



High-Resolution Them Finger MEMEThen, without asking for anything, she made it about them. She stated, “It doesn’t matter what Jay-Z, HD Radio, Premium Spotify users, or I think, it matters what YOU think.” She told them that she had attached a free HD download of the same single they already have. She was giving this to them because she wanted their feedback.


The only thing she requested in return was for her fans to CRANK the 2 files back-to-back and reply to her via social media as to which one they felt was better.


As you can easily imagine, EVERYONE thanked her for the second free track and clearly favored the HD audio.


Because we told them to.


When Bailey’s EP was released, we offered the normal downloads you’d expect on her web store, but we also offered HD (WAV file) downloads of each song as well as the complete EP.

High-Resolution Bailey Store 2We charged the standard .99 cents for an MP3 file but $1.49 for an HD single.


Over 80% of all the music sales in Bailey’s store were HD audio files.




We told them it was cool and got them to tell each other that it’s cool. That made it cool.


If we all purchased our products solely on price, functionality, and real value, we’d all drive the same cars, wear the same shoes, and tell time on the same watches.


But we don’t.


We shop by comparison.


That kid selling crack in the ghetto wears $280 Air Jordans because he thinks it’s cool. He thinks it’s cool because everyone he looks up to is wearing them.


High-Resolution P.T. Barnum MEME

“Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.” – P.T. Barnum






If it’s convenient, and it’s perceived to be cool because “everyone is doing it” then we can sell Super-HD audio for $3.00 per song.


No, they won’t be able to tell the difference, especially on super compressed pop music but that DOESN’T MATTER.


They will feel like a baller for only $3.00. It’s not that much money.


What would music sales look like in 2017 if every label re-released Super-HD audio files of all the best-selling records?


Oh, and you know what makes those Super HD files sound even better?


A killer expensive set of powered speakers, or headphones, amplifiers, etc., but I digress.









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Boxers Feature MEME

I stumbled across a 3-minute video on my Facebook feed that was a compilation of nothing but Mike Tyson knockouts.

Boxers Mike Tyson




That kid was extremely talented. He just threw BOMBS! So many of those knockouts were in the first or second round with a single punch.





That got me on a boxing kick so I moved on the next video on this Vintage Boxing Facebook account and watched the knockouts in the most exciting matches from Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammed Ali, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran, Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez, Rocky Marciano, Evander Hollyfield, Jake LaMotta, Sonny Liston, and more.


Boxers Sugar Ray Leonard

Many of these knockouts were vintage, obviously, but the bouts from the 70’s and the 80’s usually had Don King standing right beside one or BOTH fighters.






For those of you who aren’t aware of Don King, he was one of the most successful boxing promoters on the planet. He was also one of the shadiest individuals ever.

Don (along with other historical fight promoters) was famous for finding boxers with promising talent but screwing them royally out of most of the money they could be making.


Boxers Don King

Boxers Don King By Shawn Lea from Jackson, MS, US – The contenders (cropped), CC BY 2.0, https-//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2221611



These boxing “diamonds in the rough” were gifted at a young age but they were from the ghetto so they were also broke, uneducated, naïve, and desperate.


The magic ingredients of boxing talent, naïveté, lack of education, extreme poverty, and despondency made all these guys easy prey for fight promoters. All they had to do was present them a briefcase loaded with $50,000 and a brand-new Cadillac. Now they felt rich and they looked rich so the kids and their mamas were happy and the neighborhood was impressed.






However, these kids, under the tutelage of promoters like Don King, would soon be able to fill venues like Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas with rabid boxing fans paying thousands of dollars for a ticket. The networks were happy to pay for the rights to broadcast these contests on national television creating millions more in revenue. Then Pay-Per-View cable TV became available and the price of poker went up again.


Boxers Ghetto



Some of the more famous talent became durable and lasted long enough to make some money for themselves but most didn’t.






Most boxers ended up broke because they didn’t have the wherewithal to learn the business and understand their value at that stage of the game.


Boxers Boxing Arena Cassius Clay


King had a HUGE personality and was a genius at manipulating the media.


And the consumers.


And the talent.


And arguably some of the events.



This got me to thinking.


Where ever there is an ignorant boxer with a ton of talent, there is going to be a Don King standing beside him with one hand on the microphone waxing patriotically into the TV camera, “THIS IS A GREAT FIGHTER, I LOVE AMERICA!”


His other hand will always be in the Boxer’s pockets shaking him down for every dollar he can make.


Same is true for artists.


Boxers Don King in The Ring

Image By mborowick – Originally posted on Flickr as Bad Ass, CC BY 2.0, https-//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5219525

Right now, you’re the ignorant boxer.


This goes for almost all artists, by the way, even the rich and famous major label artists.






Yes, all artists are the ignorant boxer and the role of Don King will be played by companies like Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Slacker, all terrestrial radio stations, and all the record labels.


Superstars like Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, U2, AC/DC, etc. don’t know who their customers are. They know demographics but they don’t have the actual contact information.


Boxers Spotify Logo MEMEBut Spotify does.


iTunes does too.




So, they win. They get all the money. They’ll NEVER share that information either because If they did, they would become irrelevant. We wouldn’t NEED them, or at least the leverage would DRASTICALLY change.


Do you see why the contact information is so valuable? If it wasn’t valuable they wouldn’t care about sharing it.


Boxers iTunes Logo MEME


Why don’t you think it’s that valuable?




All they’re doing is what the record labels and the artists won’t; collecting data and collecting subscriptions. They’re marketing like a modern day online business but labels and artists are Luddites bitching about the glory days and the way it used to be.


Labels don’t get it because it’s never been done that way. That’s the only reason. Even though EVERY other business is doing it this way outside of the music industry, they just won’t adapt.


Boxers Contact information MEME





Think about it. Amazon, Dell Computer, Apple Computer, your favorite grocery store, gas station, restaurants, airlines, and department stores all have your information and probably your credit card number stored; you know, for your convenience.






YOU do business like this every day, but you’re refusing to do business with your music like this.


What would the music business look like if all these iconic artists, and indies like you, had databases and knew EXACTLY who their customers were?


Boxer Amazon Collage




Gasp, what if all artists had their customer’s credit card numbers stored for them? It’s a simple freaking inexpensive plug-in on your website, but I digress.








Don King companies like Spotify would lose their power, maybe become irrelevant. What kind of deal would they need to make to get an artist to allow their music to be featured on their platform if all artists didn’t require their technology to reach the fans anymore?


Spotify doesn’t have a business unless they have traffic. They can’t get the traffic unless millions of people are looking for their favorite artists/brands. Spotify can’t represent the brands if they don’t have licensing agreements with the owners of the master recordings.


Boxer Revenue Per Stream

The record labels are in on the hustle.




You would vomit if you knew the VAST difference in revenue that the record labels collect per stream as opposed to the publishers and the songwriters.


It occurs to me that the boxers didn’t have a choice. They couldn’t target, connect, and grow their audience without characters like Don King.


Boxer S didn't have a choice



But you can.


Still, you don’t.





While Don King was a puppet-master of the media, fans, and talent, you’re a creative genius at lame excuses.


You have the ability to connect directly with your audience, circumventing the proverbial Don Kings but you choose to tell yourself that you “don’t have time” or “don’t understand social media”, and “you hate marketing because you’re an artist”.


Boxers Crying Baby MEME

For this reason, you suffer. You’ll continue to suffer until your passion for the dream dries up with your artist soul.



Ugh, this is so preventable.


When ALL artists understand this simple fact, IF all artists understood this simple fact, it would be disruptive to companies like Spotify and record labels. Possibly even an extinction level event like what the internet did to the travel agencies.



Boxer Expedia Logo



The artists have art and therefore the fans. Their brands create the traffic. Until they learn to do for themselves, there will always be a Spotify or a label to do it for them and take all the money.




I cringe at the remarkably gifted artists, that want to get a deal but have no audience. WHAT IF THE LABEL SAYS YES?


You’re screwed is what happens. You get to tell your mom that you’re a signed artist and that’s super fun until you realize that your deal, PLUS $2.50, will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.


That is until you get an audience.


Boxer Tim McGraw Hits Album




Change the game and the relationships change. An artist doesn’t necessarily NEED a record label if they have an audience. Now the role of a label isn’t to create the audience, but to turn your bonfire into a proverbial forest fire. If the artist has an audience they have cash flow which means the risk to the label is significantly diminished.




The deal structures for new artists with a fan base will change to mimic the contracts the superstars have.


They’ll be more like JV’s (Joint Ventures) and partnerships rather than 360 record deals.


The bigger iconic artists have deals like this because THEY HAVE AN AUDIENCE! Still, even the best of the best remain clueless as to who that audience is exactly…but, again, I digress).


Boxer Praying MEME Hat in your hand



Today, you don’t need to be a superstar to come to the negotiating table with an audience. Assembling an audience means you have POWER and INFLUENCE in that deal instead of holding your hat in your hand hoping for the dream to come true.





THIS. This is the reality that I have been preaching for years here at Daredevil Production.




All the education you need, the tools you need, and the fans you want to reach are easily accessible from the device that you’re reading this article on right now.


Most of it is free.


Some of it costs money but most of you choose not to pay.


You’re buried in unimaginable debt from your student loans for an education that statistically will not serve you in the workplace, but you refuse to “risk” a couple hundred bucks to learn something that will help you in your dream?


Boxer TP MEMEI don’t get it.


How does that make sense?


What are you saving exactly when you forego an education that will actually help you?





If it was easy, everyone would be a rock star, but it’s decidedly NOT brain surgery either.


If you’re willing to fail a few times, learn, work, ADAPT, and persevere, you can connect with your audience and grow your fan base. They’ll lie down in traffic for you, defend you, support you, create fan accounts on social media, and LOVE you.


That’s a promise.


Boxer Worship you


I’ve seen it.


And that’s what you want, right? Love?





It’s all right there at your fingertips but you’re currently letting or planning to allow the Spotifys and record labels take your money or worse, deny you the dream because “you suck at marketing”.


What kind of bullshit is that?


You suck at marketing because you refuse to take it seriously. It’s no wonder.


Boxer At Your Fingertips

I’m always amazed at the ideas my artists come up with when they just start thinking about it.


Wherever there is an ignorant boxer with some talent, you’ll find a Don King ready to siphon every penny he can from that amazing work.


You get to choose.


But do us all a favor and just own it when you do. No complaining, ok?









Comparing Feature Meme


The Bible had it right. THOU SHALT NOT COVET!

Comparing Bible MEME


Why do we do this? Why do we compare?


Why are we putting so much stock in another artist’s journey?


Especially when we are comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle.


Y’all compare your art with other artists you know and artists you admire, but what exactly are you comparing?


To admire is one thing. That’s what art is for.


Comparing is a complete waste of precious energy.


Comparing Research MEME


I can hear you now saying that you’re “comparing to learn how to be better”.  You think dissecting a song or performance to obtain a deeper understanding and savor the meaning of each note is comparing.




But it’s not.


I call that research. I call that studying. Potato, Pot-AH-tow, these are productive exercises right up until you start comparing.


Comparing Unhealty MEME

Comparing is unhealthy.





Comparing is the playground that your subconscious negative-self built to remind you that you’re not good enough.


Here’s the thing. We all go there occasionally. It’s like the shadows of doubt literally grab us by the hair and drag us to that dark, ugly, schoolyard. There we sit, on the merry-go-round, spinning so fast the outside world is a blur and the only thing our eyes can focus on are the shadows directly across from us.


Comparing Shadows MEME


The more we can recognize the red flags, the easier it is to avoid that rabbit hole.





Now, some of you are rather adept at avoiding this kind of thinking with your art. You know who you are as artists and you’re confident about it. At least more confident than most. (I can usually recognize this artist instantly because the air of authentic creative confidence is palpable. But I digress.)


Comparing Merry Go Round 2 BW



For the more confident artists and every artist, really, it’s level 2 that opens the door to the shadows of doubt.




Level 2 is marketing.


Every day I hear an artist groan about another artist’s marketing.


Must be nice to have all that money.”


“If I just had 10% of their budget I could be making a living.”


Comparing Scary Playground BW


Stop it.


Seriously, STOP IT!




Comparing in marketing is detrimental for the same reasons as coveting someone else’s art.


Comparing presupposes that there is some kind of destination for you. But there is no destination.


The journey is the destination so you’d better love the process.


Comparing Tracks Journey Destination MEME



This goes for creating art and marketing.




First off, when you compare, you’re always at different parts of your respective artist journeys. You must learn to advance but not get overwhelmed.


I started running again a few weeks ago. There is this DEMONIC hill at the beginning of my run.


It’s not that bad, but it is a hill.


Comparing Hill MEME



At the beginning.


And it totally sucks.





I realized that my will to conquer that hill is blown to smithereens if I look up and soak in the distance. It just seems so freaking far away and unachievable.  My attitude sours instantly and the probability of my stopping increases exponentially.


My solution is not to look up.


I keep my head down and focus on my feet. It’s momentum. This approach has the opposite effect on my mood. I’m moving, I’m actually moving! Then before I know it, I’m at the top of the hill. It sneaks up on me.


Comparing Running Just Work MEME



Do you see how comparing your marketing or your art is exactly like my evil hill?




Just focus and double down on the job at hand. Looking too far into the future or too closely at another artist’s journey will rip the hope right out of your chest. It’s a violent experience.


Do you like violence?


Comparing Violence

This is atrocity is preventable.




Keep your head down and W O R K. Before you know it, you will have dominated that little, seemingly insurmountable hill.


It’s just a hill.


The only thing that changes from day to day is our perception of the hill.


Comparing Apples & Oranges MEME


Problem number 2 with comparing on marketing is that you’re inevitably comparing apples and oranges. Your favorite artists are being marketed to you via a system that broke them but won’t break you. If your favorite artist is on their 15th single, they already have a relationship with radio, but you don’t.



Radio is going to take someone’s song off the air to put their song on because they have a brand name. Yes, radio launched that brand name, but it won’t launch yours.


comparing Launch


 In a sense, they’re lucky because they obviously get the push for radio. But at what cost?




It’s far better to approach radio after you have a solid audience built up. It’s way more fun to walk into a station where they’ve added you because they didn’t have a choice as opposed to you having your hat in your hand and begging for a favor.


Screw that.


Comparing Great Dane Leverage MEMEThere are no guarantees on radio. There has never been but now it’s worse. I had a conversation with a manager of this amazing signed act. They are compelling artists. They have a WELL FUNDED deal. The takeaway moment in the conversation came when the manager told me, “Johnny, we’ve spent an OBSCENE amount of money on radio and nobody knows who they are.” For the record, at this stage of the game and with their budget I would venture a guess that an “OBSCENE” amount of money would be in the $350,000-$500,000 range.



How are you feeling about those pings of jealousy now?


Comparing Keep Your Head Down And Work

Keep your head down and work.





Learn about online marketing, story-branding, permission marketing, and how to deeply connect with an audience.


Knowing and owning your audience is the key to your success.


STOP worrying about any other artists. It’s none of your business.


If you are good enough, nobody is stopping you.


Except you.


Comparing If You're Good Enough MEME



Stop complaining that you don’t have time. You’ll find the time if it’s important enough. To me when artists complain about not having the time, they’re really saying all this other stuff is more important.




Focus on the stuff that’s more important and OWN IT.


If this artist thing is important to you, and I mean REALLY important, you’ll get to work.


You’re either acting on the things you love or you’re not.


Coveting is not acting on what you love.


Coveting is subconsciously creating the reason you can’t.










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I want to talk about your future as an artist.


Let’s discuss the delays and the reason behind the delays.

grow Let's Talk MEME


When I refer to “delays” I’m not referring to “why you’re not a star yet”. No, if you have a solid strategy and you’re executing it, then you should be farther along this year than you were last year. Period.




Many of you, too many of you, in fact, are naively approaching this whole artist thing looking for a free ride of some sort. As if the industry beams you up to the mothership and takes care of everything for you.


Grow Free Ride




You know the routine, “I just need to meet that one record executive, that one manager, that one star who’ll take me on tour and then I’ll be on my way.”





It just doesn’t work that way. It’s not about one home run. It’s about thousands of base hits. If you’re going to be successful (meaning making a comfortable living doing what you were born to do) then you must accept responsibility for everything.


Grow MoneyBall




Yes, there are Cinderella stories of the artist who meets the big wig and that chance meeting changes everyone’s lives but they are few and far between. 99.9999% of all artists who come into your awareness have been grinding for a long time.





You are the CEO of a small company. All CEO’s have to make big decisions, spend money, take risks, understand the market, endure multiple failures, and see the big picture to grow their companies.


Start Growing You're a CEO MEME


CEO’s don’t sit around on the couch pulling on the bong wondering why nobody likes their amazing product or service and bad mouthing the industry for not “getting it”.




CEO’s don’t covet the success of more prominent CEO’s. Their curious about the stories and the work behind all successes and want to learn from them.


As a CEO you need to understand all aspects of the business from creation of the intellectual property to the manufacturing of the product to the marketing of that product.


CEO’s don’t sit around saying, “I’m no good at marketing”.


Grow You're a CEO I'm No Good At Marketing


CEO’s don’t sit around saying, “I don’t have time for marketing”.





The owners of small companies do it all. They master every facet of the business so they can teach the new hires to do it their way as the company grows.


Grow Feet Up MEME


There are BOATLOADS of failed record deal stories. A YouTube star gets a record deal but decides to let the record company take over on their marketing. Then the label they chose doesn’t understand how the artist grew their audience on YouTube and fumbles the football. Now the artist loses their record deal AND their YouTube audience because they weren’t at the helm.



Do you know why Tim McGraw has over 33 #1 hits? It seems easy from the cheap seats, doesn’t it? You think, oh he has the best songwriters beating down his door to give him their best songs. If I had that, I’d have a truckload of #1 singles too.


Grow Tim McGraw


Well, did you ever wonder why other huge stars who have been around just as long don’t have that many #1 singles? I mean, surely those stars get the same kind of respect and response from the hit songwriters and publishing companies, right?






Tim picks the songs, plain and simple.


He’s mastered the art of picking not only hit songs but hit songs that fit his brand.  Tim understands marketing as well.


I promise you Tim looks at whatever record label he’s with as a valued partner that helps him achieve his vision. Tim doesn’t look at them as some mysterious entity that magically makes it all happen for him.


Grow work Hardest Work MEME

It’s work people. Hard work!


The biggest stars, your heroes, are DRIVING.





The hardest work you’ll ever do is starting your own company. You have to create, you have to manufacture, you have to do the marketing, you have to do the accounting, the taxes, the hiring and firing, the selection, and you have to create the budget to make that business grow.


Yes, you own a small business and most of you suck at it because you don’t realize that you own a small business.


Grow Diamond MEME Stars out of Talent


Too many of you think the music business makes stars out of up and coming talent. I can see why it looks that way, but that’s not the case. The music business facilitates the aspirations of up and coming artists who understand how to work.




Some of them hardly have any musical talent, their talent is out-hustling everybody else.


If you suck at business, and you know you suck at business, you’d better find someone who can complement your weaknesses.


But you still have to sign your own checks. Just ask Oprah or Billy Joel. Now how do you think they learned that lesson?


Grow Dreams MEME


I have news for you. You will NOT learn how to market through osmosis. You will NOT learn how to make records in your dreams.




The only way out is THROUGH. You have to roll up your sleeves, make some time to learn about what you don’t know and begin putting a solid, executable strategy together that will get you into growth.


Otherwise, you’re going to end up bitter and bewildered.


CEO’s of small music business companies know that they’re not going to become a star overnight.


CEO’s of small music business companies know that they’re not going to be profitable after the first single or the first record.


Grow Radio Wont Get you into growth MEMECEO’s understand that radio isn’t going to get them into growth like it used to, so they must adapt.




Smart CEO’s know that there has never been a better time to start a small music business than right now! All your customers are out there, just one click away from knowing about you.


Smart CEO’s also know that the lifetime value of a fan/customer is worth far more than the .99 cents or $10.99 that the old music business would have them collect right now.


Smart CEO’s are leery about getting a record deal too soon. “Too soon” meaning they don’t have a big enough audience and therefore they don’t have enough power to influence the relationship.


Grow Crowd MEME

 Smart CEO’s want to stack the deck as much as possible in their favor so they can control their own future.




Smart CEO’s know that nobody is going to care about their small business more than them.









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