Tag Archive for: music team

Renaissance Feature 2 MEME 2


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



The Renaissance is coming.



The music will improve tremendously, believe it or not.


The current market conditions are setting the stage brilliantly.


Renaissance Sterile music

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



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


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


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


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


The masses will follow much later.




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


Then the masses follow in force.


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


Renaissance Horsepower



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




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


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


Imagine that!


They were too freaked out by the technology change.


Renaissance Buggy Ride



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





It stuck. Makes sense now, right?


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


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


We artists, we do this ourselves.


Renaissance Change



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


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





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


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


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


Renaissance The Rolling Stones

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



Renaissance Rolling Stones 12x5

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





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


Renaissance Artist Collage



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


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




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


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


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




We’ll all stop caring.


This will be scary.


This will naturally spur a new renaissance of significant art.


Important artists will rise up from the ashes.


Renaissance Drowning Clutter Sterile ROCK POP MEME



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






Renaissance Phoenix MEME Important Artists



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





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


Renaissance Noah Karmin Collage


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



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


New tastemakers will arise with massive amounts of power.


Some will give way to the proverbial corporate poison apple.

Renaissance MTV Logo



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




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


Renaissance is coming MEME



It’s percolating.




Artists everywhere are just beginning to ask the right questions.


How can I cut through the clutter?”


“How can I become more compelling?”


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


“How can I really reach my audience?”

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


The Renaissance is coming!


I’m so freaking excited about it!!


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


They’re beginning to understand this.


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


Any artist can easily FIND THEIR AUDIENCE!


Renaissance Brainwashed




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





In the future, artists will become brand ambassadors.


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


Renaissance Gold PERMISSION MEME

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



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


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


Renaissance 1 million MEME

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




Can you see it?


I can.


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


Renaissance Bow At The Feet


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




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


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


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


You have compelling art.


Renaissance Next Stop The Future


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



The rest will take care of itself.


I promise.














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Leadership Feature MEME


I want you all to follow me on this one but many of you won’t like it because of the football references.


I know some of you despise sports, but I promise this is about you, the artist.

Leadership SuperBowl LI





We just witnessed the greatest Super Bowl of all time.





If you’ve read enough of my posts, you KNOW I’m a diehard Green Bay Packer fan.


I have exactly ZERO allegiance to the Falcons or the Patriots but I LOVE a good game, especially when I think of the mentality of the leaders, you know, how they keep it together in the face of certain defeat.

Leadership Super Bowl Helmet MEME



Sound familiar?




Do you ever feel like you’re not winning, you’re not going to win, and everyone is rooting against you?


Now I have your attention, huh?


Leadership Chess 2



We just witnessed greatness, y’all.





Great courage, great leadership, grit, and mental toughness.


We witnessed a plan being put forth and then execution of that plan. The execution of the plan, in the beginning, was clearly FLAWED by the Patriots.


But then they regrouped, adjusted the plan, EXECUTED, and achieved a greatness that surpasses winning the Super Bowl.


Leadership boy CEO MEME TOP DOWN



That kind of character and leadership comes from THE TOP DOWN. The leaders must have it for the team to have it.




The coach is required to have it.


The QB is also required to have it.


Then the team will respond.


QB’s get paid for the same reason you’re going to get paid; they make big, important game-altering decisions right now.


Leadership Paid MEME Game ChangingThis is about YOU because these are the attributes that will make you successful REGARDLESS of your actual talent, luck, money, favors, connections, access to studios, what you have, or what you don’t have.



Tom Brady just became the first QB ever to have earned 5 Super Bowl rings.


He surpassed 2 other QB’s, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, who were the only other two Quarterbacks with 4 rings received from playing (as opposed to also coaching).


He just surpassed a very small, elite club to create a new club, for the moment, that is all his own.


This is what you are trying to do; create a club all your own.


Hey, it’s totally doable.


Leadership Strong MEME



Here are some compelling facts about an amazing journey to think about and apply to your own situation.




The NFL didn’t think all that much of Tom Brady when they drafted him.


To be drafted in the NFL means you have a minimal level of talent but we always hear about the #1 draft choices like Peyton Manning, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Cam Newton, etc. If they don’t go #1 it’s still impressive (and far more lucrative for the athlete) if they’re drafted in the first round.

Leadership 5 Superbowl Rings


Tom Brady was a 6th-round draft pick number 199 overall.


That’s what the NFL’s vetting system thought of him.





Tom and his family were led to believe he’d go in the 2nd or 3rd round, but once they got to the end of the 5th round, Tom had to leave the house to take a walk and grapple with the idea that he might not play football professionally.


Sounds crazy, right?


How in the hell did the NFL get it so wrong?


Leadership What Tom Didn't Have MEME

Let’s look at what Tom Brady didn’t have.




Here’s a scouting report by the NFL


Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone.

We all look bad on paper at some time.



Leadership Bad On Paper



I wonder, what are your intangibles?




This is where you must factor in perspective to help you with your faith in the future outcome of your career.


Get it?


I’ll bet you feel that way sometimes. Let me restate that, if you occasionally say to yourself, “What the hell am I doing here?” you’re on the right path.


Leadership Courage MEME What the hell am i doing here


To me, that means that you’re chasing something you love right now, but it looks bad on paper.




Tom Brady was not heavily recruited in college either. He was lucky to get a last-minute offer from Michigan.


So, he was grateful. An attribute that he still possesses to this day.


He had to EARN his way to a starter position and his ultimate satisfaction; being voted as the team-leader in his senior year.


How’s your humility these days?


Leadership Grateful

Are you truly grateful for what you have or are you expending copious amounts of energy negatively stewing about what you don’t have?



What’s more is that he followed in the footsteps of Brian Griese (the prodigy son of one of the greatest NFL QB’s Bob Griese) who took Michigan to a championship.


Have you ever felt overshadowed?


Leadership Overshadowed



Is there some ghost, legacy, or expectation that deep down inside you feel you have to live up too?




I have news for you, Brady’s numbers weren’t stellar in college. They were decent but they didn’t win a championship under his leadership. In fact, there were zero accolades. No All-American, no Heisman Trophy, no Davey O’Brien Award.


Leadership Bored Ho Hum


Ho hum.



Clearly, the lack of early blue ribbons has had exactly ZERO to do with the outcome of his career.


That should be encouraging.


The year Tom was drafted, there were a TON of QB’s in the draft including Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, and Tim Couch all of whom went in the first 3 picks of the first round.


Have you ever felt passed over?


Have you ever felt a little inferior?


Leadership Passed Over Abandoned




How about feeling like the competition is too stiff or too abundant?






Do you covet the success of your friends, acquaintances, and heroes who seem to have figured out their path before you?


Here’s the deal, Brady LOVES THE GAME.  All aspects of the game, all times of the year.


In the pre-game banter, Michael Strahan shared a Brady anecdote. He recalled being at a small party, 4 couples, 8 people in April (after football season) a few years back. Michael went to make a drink and asked Brady if he wanted one. Brady replied, “No, I’m training”.


When you’re a student of the game, you seek to master all the facets of the game, even the not-so-fun parts.


Leadership Toilet Paper



This is a little gross, but effective, so forgive the reference, but y’all are students of the game when it comes to taking a crap.




There’s paperwork to be done afterward. Sometimes it’s real messy.  But you do it, and you do it well because the outcome of a poorly executed plan in this situation is intolerable.


Marketing, for most of you, is the nasty paperwork that you don’t want to deal with.


Without an effective marketing strategy, I PROMISE, the outcome of your artist career will be intolerable.


Yes, you’re not good at it. YET.


This is where you need to have faith in your ability to learn about a MISSION CRITICAL piece of your success strategy.


Leadership Learn LIKE IT MEME


 All you need to do is work for it.  Who knows, you might actually begin to LIKE it.




In yesterday’s Super Bowl the Patriots were down 28-3 as late as half-way through the 3rd quarter!


Leadership Deflate Gate



To put it another way, the Patriots have now set a record; the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.



BTW, don’t forget that Tom Brady was unfairly singled out and made a scapegoat for “Deflate Gate” from 2 years ago.  With zero evidence (of a sin I believe every NFL team commits) they punished Tom Brady this season with a 4-game suspension, to show the world they meant business


Have you ever felt unfairly punished?


Leadership Life's unfair



When was the last time you got a little angry or disgruntled because life is unfair?




Tom was at the top of his game and he got stung; badly.


It never stops, y’all.

Leadership Deflate gate Mag Cover




Life is unfair to everyone of all races, creeds, and colors. We ALL get screwed over early and often. NOBODY has a life on a boulevard of unbroken green lights.





It just seems that way, man. That’s a story you’re telling yourself.


Who thinks that Tom Brady focused or stewed about this stuff?


Leadership is the key here.


Leadership Kids


Leadership and mental toughness.


YOU are the leader of your destiny.




If your leadership is effective, others will follow. If you’re not an effective leader, you’re going to feel alone.


Most of us watching last night’s game wrote it off as a blowout about half way into the 3rd quarter.


Brady only saw that he had a job to do and it wasn’t done yet.


He didn’t focus on the immediate past. He was in the present.


In the NOW. Always.


Brady has an interesting perspective on this. He says [paraphrasing], “You have to live in the present. Live like a kid. Why do kids have so much fun all the time? They are always only focused on what they’re doing right now.”


This is how I want y’all to think.  Forget about what you don’t have and focus on what you do have.


Forget about your last defeat and move forward to figure out how to get a win.


Leadership 28-3 Screwed


He and the Patriots were SO SCREWED half way through the 3rd quarter that statistically they weren’t going to recover.




Have you ever felt like that?


Do you feel like that now?


Has nobody from your circle, family, hood, or group of friends ever made a living as an artist?


What are the speedbumps that you’re allowing to become catastrophic, monumental career crushers?


The first 2 ½ quarters of last night’s game were a huge speedbump!


There were players, just on that field (let alone the entire NFL), with far more natural talent, who had far more early career breaks, who could run faster, jump higher, throw farther, who looked unbelievable on paper that couldn’t do what Brady did.


Leadership Remember MEME


They didn’t do what Brady did.



I believe Brady is the only player and certainly the only QB with 5 rings received from PLAYING.


Whether you like football or not, this article provides UNDENIABLE PROOF that you don’t have to look like the best and the industry doesn’t have to think you’re the best to achieve greatness.


The past doesn’t matter.


Tom Brady had zero college accolades, barely made it into the NFL, has a mediocre arm, he’s slow, he’s tall but not as big as other QB’s, he had NOTHING going for him.


Wait, except for one thing; he really wanted to play football.


Some of you are a bit disgruntled because you have tons of talent and you’re getting no love from the industry.


Leadership RIGHT NOW



Other of you are disenfranchised because you don’t have the incredible amount of talent you see with other artists, so you low-key feel you don’t belong here.




In both of these scenarios, y’all are not taking responsibility for your own careers.


The ONLY thing you can control is RIGHT NOW.


What can you do to step up your game as an artist with your art?


With your marketing?









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Happiness is a Learned Skill Feature 2 MEME


Happiness is a byproduct, not a destination.


Happiness is a Learned Skill Not a Destination



Happiness is a learned skill. (And it’s never too late to learn)





How many times have you heard this before?


Do you believe it?


Happiness is a Learned Skill Do You Believe




Do you get it? Really?








Happiness is a Learned Skill Galapogos MEME

You’re not going to “find” happiness like the Galapagos Islands.




It’s easy then to extrapolate that happiness in your artist career is also a byproduct of behavior and not a destination.


You’re not going to find happiness and success with that one amazing connection.


Yes, you hear the stories an artist’s “one big break” but that big break happened on several levels as a byproduct of a life spent working diligently on something.


They were noticed because of the work they were doing.


They were prepared to walk through the newly opened door for the same reason.



Happiness The Climb 600x315 copy


Brent and I were discussing a similar thought on one of the C.L.I.M.B. podcast episodes. We were talking about the stories of a super hit song that “wrote itself” in like 10 minutes. The reality is that it most certainly did NOT take the songwriter 10 minutes to write that song.



It took their whole life PLUS 10 minutes.


Get it?


Happiness is a Learned Skill Gary Vee Jewel



Y’all know that I devour Gary Vaynerchuk content. His interview with Jewel in episode 238 of the Gary Vee Show was incredible.




This woman has a story that I wanted to share with you all.


You’re going to love it because it’s incredibly inspiring.


Happiness is a Learned Skill Hate it Excuses

You’ll hate it because her story will leave you with zero excuses.




We’ve all been broken before and we’ve all had people or have people that try to break us.


Jewel has overcome all of that.



She didn’t let life’s horrible speed bumps make her a victim or a statistic, but it almost did.



She moved out when she was 15 years old because her dad was being abusive.



Happiness is a Learned Skill Pay 2 Play MEME


She moved to San Diego a couple years later but she was disenfranchised by the music scene because the coffee houses were “pay to play”. She didn’t get it. She didn’t see how the coffee shop could steal the artist’s energy and soul for a few hours and offer only tips in return.




Now, she was 18 and her boss wanted to sleep with her but when she refused, he withheld her paychecks.



She thought to herself, “I’ll just sleep in my car for a month or two until I find a new gig.” This move was good for her soul but left her homeless for 18 months.


Happiness is a Learned Skill Statistic MEME



Jewel mentioned that during this time she was shoplifting quite often and on one occasion caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.





She was disgusted.


She had become the very thing she promised she wouldn’t become; a statistic.


This is the pivotal moment that I want you all to think about.


You’re suffering in some ways.


We all suffer in some ways.


Happiness is a Learned Skill Struggle Gift MEME


I agree with Jewel in that it’s a gift to be allowed to struggle because this is where the successful find the tools they need to cope.




Coping tools give us the instruments we need to continue productivity and work through the suffering as humans and as artists.


I lost everything in the 2008 financial meltdown.


I rebuilt and moved forward. It sounds easy but there were many times that my soul was violently careening on a current of negative energy.


It was my thought processes that got me off that river.



Happiness Is a Learned Skill Buddha MEME

Buddha says, “Happiness does not depend on who you are or what you have, it depends on what you think.





I’m sure that WAY too many of you are hung up on who you are and what you have.


Some of you feel because you’re very talented you should be happy.


That’s called entitlement.


Some of you feel that new guitar (thing) will make you happier but it’s just a possession, just a “thing”.


Some of you feel that a person will make you happier.


That’s called co-dependency.


The reality is that Buddha is right. Duh. Happiness is all about what you think.


Happiness is a Learned Skill Wolf Fire

Personally, losing everything, which is MONUMENTALLY scary to think about but even more terrifying to endure, was the greatest gift I ever received.




I found out that my things and my relationships don’t define me.


I also am no longer scared of losing everything because I’ve lived through the worst financial and personal catastrophe.



Yes, it totally sucked but I know I can handle it. I can always innovate my way out of trouble.



Happiness Is A Learned Skill Coffee Shop Out of Biz



During Jewel’s homeless period, she found a coffee shop that was going out of business. She struck a deal with the owner (who had nothing to lose really) by offering to help build a steady following for the business with her performances.





Suddenly, Jewel found herself at another crossroads; she only knew cover songs.


Songwriting was going to have to happen and quickly.


Talk about profound, Jewel said that she was lonely and many people are lonely so she could connect with them that way lyrically.



Happiness Is A Learned Skill Notebook MEME

She also said that she deserved to be lonely because she only told the truth in one place which was a notebook that nobody read.





It was time to talk openly about her truth and take a risk to be vulnerable. This is a milestone that most indie artists seem to miss.


Easier to be derivative than it is to be vulnerable. Maybe you have a lot of talent but because you’re failing to be truly exposed you’re not getting the attention you think you deserve.


Maybe you don’t deserve any attention right now? Did you ever think about it that way?



Happiness Is A Learned Skill Your Truth MEME

I have news for you, It’s your TRUTH that will separate you from the crowd and make you special.




The songstress thought to herself fear is a thief. It takes the past and projects it into the future and robs you of the only opportunity you have to create real change; which is RIGHT NOW.


Y’all need to create change in your marketing.


Happiness Is A Learned Skill Thief MEME


Most artists aren’t thinking about or acting on any kind of marketing.




Which is why you hurt.


Here’s an illustration of how bad it is.


I was just at a new record label showcase last week. One of the artists that played this event was a Curb Records artist.  He was an amazing R&B act, I was familiar with his last song even though I don’t spend much time listening to that genre (that should tell you something) but his social media sucked.


Happiness Is A Learned Skill Instagram Collage



Literally half of my artists have MUCH larger and far more engaged communities in their respective social media communities than this major label artist. I find this to be true amongst all artists, signed or not. Unless their famous, their social media is usually seriously lacking.





He’s clearly relying on the record label to bring him to market which is sad. We’re down to a few major labels precisely because they’re not sure how to bring an artist to the market anymore.


With her head on straight, Jewel goes to work writing and starts to play the coffeehouse shows.


Her first show had 2 people.


Next had 7 people.


Happiness Is A Learned Skill 91X Logo




A few months later there were people standing in line around the corner just to hear her sing.






The packed coffee house was a byproduct of her thinking at first, and then her actions.



Someone bootlegged a live recording of her and the San Diego radio station started playing it.


Soon she was a highly requested artist and the labels came-a-calling.


This is another pitfall I see so many of you fall into. You’re waiting to be discovered.


Happiness Is A Learned Skill Limo MEME

Jewel went out and found her audience, and just like I always preach, the industry found her.




She was offered a record deal but she was going to be releasing a folk record in a grunge market.


How would she cut through?


The label offered her a 1-million-dollar advance but she turned it down. Instead, she used the advance to buy (renegotiate) a much better back-end deal on her contract.


Happiness Is A Learned Skill Million Dollars



Again, guts, knowledge, understanding. She read one book and found out the advance was recoupable.





She broke through before the social media age because of her brain. Yes, the abundant talent was there but her audience was only made aware of it because of the way she thought.


Does that make sense?


Gary Vee said, “Your fans got there and gave a crap because of you, and then they took over.”


Do you see where I’m headed with this?


Happiness Is A Learned Skill Love them firstMEME


The artist must start the fire. You carefully cultivate the first 1,000 Superfans and then they will take over.




Gary immediately followed that quote with, “What my fans do now is insane, the level of love, but it started with I LOVE THEM FIRST.”



You give to receive.



If you focus on making other people happy, on providing value to them first, you’ll learn how to be happy.









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Clutter Feature 2 MEME

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass


Powerful, huh?


Clutter Marketing Art MEME


I would go as far as calling that quote profound.


Hat-tip to my friend James Meny for sharing this with me.



Not only does this quote apply to artists and their art, but also to artists and the art of marketing their art.




The art of making people aware of good art is marketing.


Marketing is an art…it needs equal attention.


Clutter Authenticity



It’s all about authenticity these days, which is why the market valuations for Snapchat are crushing every other social media platform.  There’s your proof.







Many artists have broken wide open and enlisted throngs of fans through YouTube videos because they were authentic to the extent that it was THEM performing. What they were performing wasn’t as important how they were performing it and the fact that they were the performer.


Authenticity is why I am so excited about the new music industry! It’s been long overdue for a disruption of this magnitude.



Clutter Chaos



We’re right in the middle of this industry chaos and those that can’t or won’t adapt will suffer. But those that see the real opportunity will THRIVE.





Authenticity is why the new music business belongs to the true artists. You may not see that just now, but I do.



So, the reality is that you’re not wanting to quit because it’s hard to get your music out there, you’re wanting to quit because you’re not authentic…yet.



You’re either not authentic with your art or you’re not authentic with your marketing…or both.


Clutter Impatient MEME




You’re impatient.





The writing is on the wall and it’s as plain as the nose on your face.



This quote is talking about the process an artist must endure finding their authenticity, isn’t it?



Clutter Process Pasta MEME



Your authentic self, the raw, unique inner soul in your music and your marketing comes to you as you engage in the process.


Your job is just to practice.





That’s it.


Sounds easy enough!



For the over-thinkers, the self-proclaimed “researchers”, and “perfectionists” who use these monikers as an excuse to wait, your job is just to do.



Clutter Hide MEME



I can absolutely PROMISE that you will never lay down all the necessary rail road track for your journey in advance of adding the train.






Life is about laying just enough track to stay ahead of the train.





Your job is just to practice your art.


Your job is just to practice your marketing.


Until you practice your instrument, your songwriting, and your marketing, the music will never come. Period.


You won’t create effective, killer marketing until you endure the process of working on it.



Your job is to practice.


There are no excuses for not doing your job. Period.


The market, meaning potential fans, professional business relationships, and peers will simply not tolerate anyone who claims to be an artist and doesn’t do the work.


It’s so easy to spot the artists who declare themselves authentic but clearly haven’t endured enough of the process.


It’s a turnoff.Clutter Fake




Y’all constantly tell me that your biggest challenges are in marketing but few of you work that hard at it.


Most of you ignore it completely.



You won’t close the gap without the work.


Your job is to practice.


Clutter Student MEME

Let me be even clearer, your job is to practice WITH NO EXPECTATIONS whatsoever other than doing the job of an apprentice.




You must become a student of apprenticeship.



This means you need information, guidance, mentors, teachers, education, and humility to find that authenticity…that inner voice.


When you begin to truly start the journey, on your art, in your marketing, the immediate result is an increase in your passion.



People are moved by passion.


People respond to passion.



It’s one thing to have a God given talent.


It’s something else altogether to have a talent and passion.



I know several amazingly talented individuals who just don’t give a damn.



Clutter Disease Apathy MEME



You may know someone like this. Maybe you’re envious and think to yourself, “I would be a star if I had that much talent.”





But the truth is, you both suffer from the same preventable disease, apathy in marketing.



The drive you seek, the drive you’re missing (true authenticity) will come in your art the more you practice.


The authenticity you seek and the impact you want in the marketplace will come the more you practice.


Your CONFIDENCE will blossom with preparation in your art and repetition in your marketing.

Clutter Confucius MEME




Confucius says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.







Think about that for a second, won’t you?


The more you work on your art and your marketing, the more you close the gap.



As you close the gap, you get closer and closer to true authenticity.



Clutter Mind The Gap



As you close the gap, you will inevitably become increasingly familiar with your true, inner voice.





Since every human is unique (even twins have different unique fingerprints!) the byproduct of finding your true inner voice is originality, innovation, ingenuity, and creativity.


As you become more original, your PASSION begins to swell (you can’t help it).


Clutter Fingerprint



Don’t you dare confuse passion with arrogance, cockiness, or bravado because they are decidedly different things.





You can’t fool us. Only passion cuts through the clutter. If the true passion is swathed in arrogance, cockiness, and bravado, that’s different!


The more your passion begins to swell, the more the market place begins to respond to your passion.



Your audience will grow at live shows, on social media, and YouTube.



Clutter Teachers WE WANT TO HELP meme

As your passion and your audience grows, the teachers and mentors will come out of the woodwork.






The opportunities will truly be ABUNDANT!!


Here’s the rub.


This whole reality starts with one ugly four letter word.


W O R K.


Clutter W O R K Meme










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Hero Feature MEME


You’re not the hero to your audience. It may feel that way at times. It’s quite possible you may want it that way!


Hero statue MEME

But you’re not the hero, you’re the guide.





They’re Luke Skywalker.


You’re Yoda.


For the younger crowd, they’re Harry Potter.


You’re Dumbledore.



When you envision success, if you envision yourself as the hero you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority.



But you’re wrong.



Hero Brand Logo Collage



You’re DEFINITELY amongst the majority of artists who see themselves as heroes.


You’re also in the majority of businesses out there who view their products as the hero.





The smartest marketing companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, and Coca-Cola understand their products are not the hero, they are the guide.




Yes, the awesome apple computer I use in my studio rig doesn’t create the killer song demos for my songwriter clients or the heartfelt content for my marketing clients; I do.


I’m the hero within the context of my relationship with Apple.



They were the guide, their product helped me achieve success for myself.


Hero Coca Cola Logo


Coca-Cola makes you feel like you’re going to have a great time with your friends and their product is there to facilitate it.


Coca-Cola helps you create lasting memories.




“But Johnny, what the hell does this mean to me as an artist?”



Here’s a great story and it’s quick.


Hero Blake Shelton Austin



I saw a clip somewhere of Blake Shelton talking about “Austin”. This was Blake’s first single and he relived his first tour describing the reaction he would get in the audience when the band would kick into that song back in 2001.


People screamed and hollered because they loved this #1 song and the new artist!




Now, 15 years later, Shelton says the reaction is different. When he looks out into the audience during “Austin” there are people holding on to each other, groups hugging one another, hitting each other in the shoulder and laughing, or crying, but They’re all reminiscing.


Do you see?


They were making the memories in 2001 and now they’re remembering those very memories.

Hero First Kiss



Shelton’s first single was a guide in their lives. They have attached that song to a memory. That song now evokes powerful emotion, one way or the other.





It’s their celebration and “Austin” is the soundtrack to that specific celebration.



I was discussing this very story with my girlfriend who told me her first kiss happened to “Austin”. That song became their song.


Who forgets their first kiss?


Hero first kiss 2 Music Was The Guide



Blake Shelton is just in the honorable position to be a part of this important recollection for many people.




Get it?


He’s the guide.



How many of you had your first kiss, first sex, first drunk, first significant something largely because the setting was perfect which included the music.



I think if y’all can internalize this concept, it will change your marketing dramatically.




When you overhaul your approach to marketing, it will be foreign and clumsy at first, but you’ll be more effective and reach more people.




Hero Cry Baby MEME Butt Hurt



When you think you’re the hero, you get butt-hurt when you don’t receive the respect you think a hero should deserve because, after all, you’re a hero.





Why don’t they see it like you see it, right?



When you feel like the hero, your language and tone come from a different place. You feel as if you are owed respect. You speak to people with a certain air of authority, entitlement, and a certain condescension.



Maybe you don’t mean to, but y’all do because that kind of perspective comes with the hero mentality.


For instance, “Check out my new single” or “This kid is spitting mad rhymes in the mic!” or “Check us out on iTunes” then download my song and spread the word.


Coming from someone who is perceived to be a hero or at the very least has some real respect, these commands might work.


In your scenario, the reaction is the complete opposite from what you are wanting to get though, isn’t it?




You’re trying to earn the respect.


I mean, how’s that working out for you?


Does anyone care?



However, if you truly understand that you’re the guide and being the guide is a privilege, your approach, tone, and language changes.



Hero Grateful Bear MEME



Your CTA (Call To Action) posts look more like, “Wow! #Grateful 4 the love. Here’s a free download. #respect.”




Relationships aren’t transactions, their relationships. There’s a difference.



The more we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about our fan’s (customer’s) journeys, the more we will reach them.



Hero Relationships Aren't Transactions



They want to belong…to something.





Yes, they want music but they have all the music they need, just ask them, they’ll tell you.


Remember this.


You’re not trying to sell something they need like clothes, shelter, water, oxygen, etc.


Hero Grateful



You’re going to need to create a relationship and you do that online by providing real value.



You’re a business but you’re thinking like a product-centric business when you should be thinking like a customer-centric business.


Product-centric business is dangerous and short-lived.


Customer-centric business can go on forever.



Hero Building a Story Brand Logo




FYI, the muse for this article was the “Best Of 2016” episode on the Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller podcast. Quick excerpts from the best episodes and they’re quite illuminating.







Hero Piano Key Neck Tie



A good example of a product-centric business is the Piano Key tie. The manufacturer’s made a killing on a product but it ended and it was over.







A good example of a customer-centric business is Chanel.



Hero Chanel Logo RESIZED



Chanel started by inventing the mini skirt back in the 60’s (thank you Chanel!) but this iconic brand isn’t defined in any way solely on the mini skirt, was it?






Hero Apple Computer Logo




Apple used to be called Apple Computer. They dropped “Computer” from their moniker because they didn’t want to be defined by the Macintosh alone. They said they didn’t want their company to be defined by the products they sold, rather they wanted their company to be defined by the people they served.






That’s the difference between being a product-centric business and customer-centric business.



Why didn’t Blackberry OWN the smartphone business?Hero Blackberry


Why didn’t Blockbuster become Netflix before Netflix?


Answer: Because they were cemented to a certain way of THINKING and therefore, they couldn’t adapt.




You have to adapt to survive.



As an artist, when you’re thinking about your fans as opposed to yourself, your content will change and become valuable to them.



I know y’all hear me go on about business and monetization etc. I even joke sometimes about the monetization process with my cohorts like a tough guy.


But the truth is I make no mistake, it’s all about adding value to their lives.


I’m always wondering how I can add value to my client’s lives with advanced strategies, custom content, and attention that they won’t get anywhere else.



When you begin to think this way about your online community, you’ll witness a big change.



You have to think about the transactional process differently.


Don’t think of your fans like a human ATM machine, “I have to shake them down for $20.”



Think about them like a close relationship, “How can I add the most value for that $20.”


Not for nothing, but I think many of you pure artists allow this method of transactional thinking to become a deterrent to your success!



You want to make a living as an artist, but you fear being perceived as a salesman, therefore you don’t sell and therefore you don’t make a living as an artist.



Sounds simple, but I KNOW that I just rang a lot of bells.


Hero Bartender Skeptic RESIZED



Think of your bartender or your weed dealer (legal or illegal makes no difference).




You expect a certain level of service and quality. In the beginning of the relationship many of you are understandably skeptical about the outcome. But when you experience a happy result a relationship is formed and the transaction is a happy one.


You are HAPPY to pay your hard-earned money to receive the goods and services.


They are HAPPY to accommodate you in exchange for your precious money.


Then, Both of you are HAPPY to repeat the process because there is a relationship, trust, understanding, and therefore, CONSTANT COMMERCE.


Hero Happy



See, in this framework the idea of commerce doesn’t feel so bad, does it?





How can you add value (aside from your music) to a potential fan’s life on social media to create a relationship?



Good stories?


Humor?Hero Laughing Content


Your attitude on life?


Your snarky perspective?


Your artistic interpretation of their favorite song?


Thought provoking content?


All these items end up as your brand DNA.



If I like your brand, I’ll listen to your music with an open heart.



Hero Brand DNA MEME



When you begin putting their needs first, your tone, content, language, and approach completely transform.





You stop trying to be the hero and begin to guide them.



You start to help them improve their lives, even if it’s just for a second with a laugh, 3 minutes with a song, or 90 minutes with a compelling show.



You exist to help them.



You exist to transform them into better heroes.


How can you achieve a real relationship with your future fans online?


Ahh, now you’re asking better questions!


May the force be with you.









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Happy New Year, Daredevil Insiders!




As always, the new year is a great time to get perspective on the last year, ponder what we’ve learned from the inevitable mistakes we’ve made, and set some goals together.




I want to talk about limitations, limiting beliefs, and the stories we tell ourselves that get us in our own way.





That’s it, you know.




The problem with your lack of success in the music business (which is where I assume you want to be more successful or you wouldn’t be reading this) has always been you.






You want to succeed more than anything, but you have limiting beliefs which lead you to create a story.


We all have limiting beliefs.




The most successful people are self-aware of this fact and work diligently to think differently and overcome the mental hurdles.


They change the stories that they tell themselves.



Limiting beliefs means that deep down inside, you don’t truly feel like you should be successful, or you don’t know how to do it, or you’re conflicted because subconsciously the idea of making a living doing what you love is rubbing up against some serious emotional and mental anchors.




Ultimately we all want to please other people to a degree to satisfy our sense of belonging to the families, communities, and tribes we are in.


For instance, if your parents don’t approve of your life path, that’s usually a biggie.


Maybe a significant other is renting too much space in your head about your musical aspirations.






I got to thinking about this blog after listening to a killer podcast called The Business of Story with Park Howell. His guest was a business coach named Melanie Benson.






Right about now, some of you are saying, “I’m done reading, I’m an artist, not a businessperson.” – Hello, that’s a limiting belief.



Whether you like it or not, It’s also inaccurate.




If you’ve EVER received one penny of revenue from a recording, live gig, studio gig, musical teaching gig, etc. you’re a businessperson.





Maybe you’re a crappy businessperson, and there is no law against that, but rest assured you’re a businessperson.


“I make art for the sake of art, I answer to no one, my creations are derived solely from me and no other commercial interests.”





This comment, or some form of it, I hear often. My response is, that’s AWESOME! Seriously, I love that approach and believe that an artist can truly achieve pure art and find their audience now more than ever.




However, if after you’re done with the purest creative process ever, you venture out into the world and accept any kind of compensation for your talents, you’re a true artist and you’re also a businessperson.



Don’t be upset by this. WHEREVER there is amazing art, there is inevitably commerce!






Commerce is present because people will pay their hard-earned money to be transported emotionally.  This is what great art does for people; it moves them.





It’s worth it for them, that’s the only reason they pay.


That means you’re worth it.


Some of you, deep down, don’t believe you’re worth it. That’s a limiting belief.




I’ve heard artists complaining about how they don’t want to “sell out”.   Ok, I love that too, but how is accepting revenue for a work that you creatively stand behind with pride, selling out exactly?





You are “selling out” If you’re derivative to become famous, OR if you feel pressured to change your art for the sake of a bigger megaphone.


But making money on your art alone is NOT selling out. It’s selling tickets, merch, and music.



There’s a difference.





These mental hurdles are stories that we tell ourselves to give ourselves permission to wait, or to lose the dream, or to not be as successful as we could be on our dream.




Are there artists who somehow fell into the big, ugly, music business machine and ended up putting on a dancing chicken suit to please the powers that be just so they could be famous?




Is that you?




So, what the hell are you talking about?


Are there artists who somehow got super successful with their genuine creations despite having to get approval from 2 publically traded corporate committees before it ever saw the light of day?





Is that you?




So, what the hell are you thinking?



As Park Howell so eloquently puts it, “The most powerful story is the story you tell yourself.”






Everything in your head is all made up.






They’re made up from scratch, from fear, from your parents, your siblings, or bandmates, or significant others, etc.


Every story about politics, religion, success, money, love, music, the business, selling, health, nutrition, they’re all made up, man.


Right or wrong, effective or toxic, these stories in your head are made-up.


I’m a creative, sales are beneath me.”


Good luck with that story. Ask any of your major label artist friends about how cool it is to be a major label artist and not ever have to sell.  They’ll laugh you out of the room.




Radio tour is SELLING.





You’re selling your music to the program directors, and you’re selling yourself to get them to like you.


Every gig you’re selling yourself to the audience but you’re selling (hopefully) good art.



“I hate the way sales people make me feel so I’m not going sell myself. My music is amazing; it will find an audience.”






C’mon man. That’s like me saying “I don’t like the way you sounded on the very first day you picked up that guitar so I’m not going to listen to music again.”


Silly, right?




I can’t afford that.”


I’ll bet that one got your attention.







Well yes, maybe you can’t afford it, but that mindset isn’t going to get you into growth, it’s guaranteed to keep you right where you’re at.





Maybe at the end of the day, you’ll keep that $100 in your pocket, but what is that approach really costing you?


Your dream?


What if you spent the $100 learning something new or delegating to some expert and it put you on a path to making a living as an artist?





The host, Park Howell, was talking about how he purchased Tony Robbin’s first cassette tape series back in 1985. He paid $39.95 (which is $89.61 in today’s dollars) and that was A LOT of money to him. He didn’t feel like he could afford it. He listened to the whole series on his Sony Walkman 8 or 9 times when he would hike his regular mountain trail in Arizona to get exercise.






He was fearful of spending the money but he did it and it changed his life forever.


Melanie Benson said something like, “That’s called stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.”






My mother calls it “pennywise and pound foolish.”






You don’t really know marketing at all. You think you know, and some of you know some things, but I can attest that we are CONSTANTLY learning here at Daredevil Production, so you know nothing.


Since you don’t know, you’re going to need to learn.


That means you’ll have to learn to do it yourself via webinars, conferences, and books, pay for a coach, or pay someone to do it for you.



These choices require spending some time and money on either staff or education.





Since you don’t have the knowledge, wisdom, experience, skills, or perspective to execute an effective marketing plan for your music project, where will these missing pieces come from?




What if you told yourself a different story?


A story like “What would you have to do be able to afford the education you so desperately need?”


If the made-up stories aren’t working for you, why not make up some new ones?










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The quality of your career and your life is determined by the quality of your questions.




What questions are you asking exactly?



Are you asking any questions beyond “Why not me?” Because that will get you nowhere.


Studying and improving your questions is improving your thinking.





The more you improve your thinking by asking better questions, the more you dig up quality answers.





Think about this dynamic in terms of dealing with a significant other. If you want to dance around a potentially damaging issue, you ask vague, lame questions because you don’t really want to know the answer or you don’t really care.





If you’re interested in getting to the bottom of a situation (assuming you wish to stay invested in the relationship) and you have a little experience in cultivating a solid connection, you know exactly what to ask.



No matter how hard they may be, the truth will set you free, yes?questions-significant-other-fight


Some of you are doomed to fail at relationships, like the person we all know who’s on their 5th marriage, simply because you haven’t learned or you’re scared to ask the right questions.


I have news for you, the same is true for your career.



So many of you are condemned to a life with a crappy day gig because you don’t, you won’t, or you’re afraid to ask quality questions.


You could be making a living as an artist but you’re missing something.


You’re stuck.




When you begin to seriously ask yourself disruptive questions, you’ll see a change.


You’ll begin to seek the knowledge you need to solve the problem at hand.



You’ll grow.


What are disruptive questions?


Answer: Questions that are unsettling to your current status quo.




Queries that poke holes in the same old stories that you’ve been telling yourselves are disturbing but quite valuable.



Corporate executives, successful people, and even military organizations utilize an exercise called “Red Teaming”. They will take a section of their team and instruct them to blow holes in the current theories, methods, and assumptions.



This exercise cuts through the crap pretty quickly.



Here are some good questions:


What’s the worst that could happen?



I am always amazed at this one because for most of you the answer is “They could say no” or “I might be out a couple bucks”. Therefore, we won’t do anything but wait.





What are the assumptions and how can I test them?


This question attacks the stories aka assumptions that we all tell ourselves.



Listen, WE ALL tell ourselves stories!  The successful people are acutely aware of this fact and are going to dig deep to ensure those stories have substance as opposed to being an excuse.









By the way, in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, the muse for this article is an incredible Tony Robbins podcast interviewing Tim Ferris.






In this podcast, they were discussing billionaire Peter Thiel. One of his favorite questions to ask potential business owners is, “Why can’t you reach your 10-year goals in 6 months?






These powerful questions break your incremental thinking towards problem-solving.






These are coachable, learnable skills you can practice once you become aware of them and embrace the reality.





Too many of you see only problems and not opportunities.


You tell yourself stories like,

  • “I’m bad at marketing”
  • “I hate marketing so, therefore…”
  • “I can’t create competitive recordings because”
  • “I suck at Social Media”
  • “I’m no good at tech”
  • “I don’t have enough money so…”
  • “I’m an artist so I don’t want to market myself”








Pattern Recognition: The most successful people have good pattern recognition.


You do too.




When you learned your first instrument, you learned other people’s patterns over and over until a mental synthesis happened and you began very naturally creating your own patterns, standing on the shoulders of those that you learned from.


You’re unique. So, your unique perspective is infused into the patterns creating something that never existed before.




None of you weren’t born with the ability to create music from nothing, so whether you chose to take lessons or you had an ability to pick up on those other patterns simply by listening to the artists you aspired to be like, you were getting educated.



You were getting real answers because you were asking the right questions and then executing a plan of attack.


This same synthesis will happen with social media and marketing if you start seeking to be as exceptional at that as you are with your musical talents.


You need an advantage. The more advantages you can give yourself the better.



Adding advantages can be as simple as eliminating disadvantages.


Some of you have superior talent as songwriters, singers, performers, dancers, producers, etc.


Other artists (who are most often ridiculed by the talent-rich but success-poor artists) have an advantage with business and marketing.




You’re going to need some marketing chops to succeed regardless of your talent level.




Nothing kills a lame-ass product quicker than great marketing so if your product isn’t competitive, you better fix it.




This makes me think of Terrell Davis who was a 2-time Super Bowl winning running back for the Denver Broncos. Terrell wasn’t the biggest or the fastest running back. His advantage was quite simple. He outworked everyone else.


He was the first to be on the field at practice and the last to leave. Therefore, he earned his success by working harder than his peers.




This is the kind of advantage that ANYONE can utilize but ironically, almost NOBODY does.







Therefore, if you outwork everyone else you immediately put yourself into a small club. 80-90% of all the artists out there disappear from your competition when you decide to outwork them.







But “outworking” is more than doing more gigs, recording more songs, and practicing longer.







You also must work on your education. You’ll FEEL better! Learn something new, like how to crack that social media code and watch your success grow exponentially.







Everybody has different advantages that can catapult them to success.


  • Analytical advantage – Some artists have a knack for analytics, tech, and numbers.
  • Informational advantage – The more you know, the greater your advantage. (Education is inexpensive and this advantage is obtainable).
  • Behavioral advantage – Some artists are incredibly cool under pressure which is a behavior that gives them an edge.
  • Structural advantage – Great pilots know everything about flying but they still have a checklist because it is far too important NOT to accidentally miss something. How can you set this up for your marketing?






Ferris says, “We’re all flawed creatures, we’re all imperfect.  The most successful people maximize one or two strengths.





Here’s good question: What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?


Here’s another good question: How can you improve on your weaknesses?


Getting a record deal for any artist could be a blessing or a curse.


The amount of work you do in advance of your coveted deal will help you steer that outcome more towards a blessing.


The questions are:questions-see


Can you see the opportunity?


What are you going to do about it?










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In the old days, you marketed the music which is why it made sense to wait until the music was done to begin the marketing process.



Today, because radio can’t force people to listen to what is unfamiliar anymore (like your debut single), the artist is what is marketed first.



You don’t listen to new stuff on the radio, you go to Deezer, Slacker, Spotify, Pandora, I HeartRadio, HD Radio, XM/Sirius Satellite Radio, and your playlist to find your “jam”.



If people like the artist, they’ll give the music a chance. Just ask Justin Bieber.



If they are unaware of the artist, the music will never be heard and they won’t know you exist.




Am I pushing your buttons?


Radio is not going to break you like it used to, so one must get creative and begin to market themselves in different ways.



The most overlooked marketing tool is contact capture.






Seriously, y’all suck at it.






You can’t afford to wait.


Sounds like a soundbite, doesn’t it?


“You can’t afford to wait”.




You probably mentally or physically rolled your eyes when you read that the first time.



Waiting to market yourself as an artist is pure ignorance.


Have you ever seen the movie Apollo 13?



There is a scene in there where a NASA executive hands the astronauts a vile of Potassium Cyanide (which causes instantaneous death aka the “suicide pill”).


In this controversial scene, the NASA administrator tells the astronauts that they thought of 1001 reasons they would need this pill. But it’s mostly for the reasons they can’t think of.


Seems like a harsh metaphor but follow me on this.


Since none of you can see a need for capturing contacts right now, you choose to ignore it.




Which is different from the “need” you see for that new guitar; it’s always on your mind. Get it?




One of the reasons you don’t see the requirement is because you’re uneducated (aka ignorant) on the value of a contact.


I’m sure most of you wouldn’t know what to do with a contact once you got it, again, this is preventable ignorance.


Since you don’t see the value, you ignore it.


If you were educated on the value, if you saw it work, or if you believed it would work, you’d all change your methods.





So, choosing not to market and/or not to educate yourself on contact capture is akin to taking a suicide pill, but for your career.


Kind of like all the people who chose to mock Noah while he built the arc. They scoffed because they couldn’t see the need. Y’all thought they were ignorant when you read that part in the bible.




Ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge or information which makes it preventable.


See, in the old days, we used mass media and mass media worked because there were masses.




In 1979 there were 3 TV stations and 228 million people watching TV. A crappy, bottom-of-the-barrel sitcom during this time would have 30-50 million people watching it.



Today the Walking Dead is a smash HIT TV show and it has around 5 million people watching it.




Think of it like this. 73 million people saw the Beatles play the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964. Of course, that demographic was kids, parents, grandparents, etc.


If just 1% of the views LOVED the Beatles, that would be 730,000 new fans. It was way more, I promise.




You could start a forest fire with a national TV appearance and a lot of hard work going market to market on radio.


Now, if you were to play GMA or the Today Show there might be 3 million people watching it.  Maybe.


A 1% response rate is 30,000.  Which sounds like a lot to an indie artist but all those people aren’t buyers.





See the first conversion rate is how many people were blown away by what they saw.  These are low conversion rates. 1% is a good number.


Then you have the conversion rates of buyers from the smaller pool of interested viewers.


If that’s 1% as well. The Ed Sullivan appearance might get you sales from 1% of 1% which would be 73,000 units. Today a TV appearance gets you sales of maybe 300 units.


You see?


Additionally, before 1980 there were hardly any competitive messages for consumers to process.


Today every consumer sees 3,500 messages per day. They’re numb, man.





Since they are so numb, it takes more to get through to them.





Think of night fishing for fish that are attracted to light. When you rely on “mass” media that’s a super powerful light that shines on you in the boat and all the fish gather to look up in wonder.


When the light goes off the fish scatter and forget you.


Before 1980 that light was akin to the power of the Sun.  So many fish would see the artist and you’d pick up truckloads of Superfans.




More and more appearances with a real “mass” meant you could get some serious momentum relatively quickly.




Still, the light would go off and the fish scatter.


What fish were there?




Who was watching?


What were their names?




Which of them spent money purchasing music last year?



In today’s TV markets that light is the equivalent of a gas lamp.  Therefore, it attracts far less fish, but just like the old days, when the light goes out, the fish scatter.


And today after they scatter they’ll be exposed to 3,499 more messages THAT DAY to ensure they probably won’t remember you at all.


So, they won’t talk about you.


If they do talk about you, they’ll be interrupted by a friend who saw some other message. The subject will change and the artist is lost in the din of all that clutter and noise.


Capturing contacts is like putting a net in the water and bringing that small group of valuable fish into the boat.




We can now stay in touch with the fish. We can find out what they like and don’t like and create relationships with them.


We MUST create relationships with them so we can cut through the clutter and stay on top of their minds.






Do you see how this is the only way?






Now back to the NASA Apollo 13 analogy.






What about those amazing moments you can’t predict?



Maybe you get chosen for The Voice.



Maybe you get an opportunity to play a festival in front of 5,000 people.


Maybe you get a killer opening slot at your local venue playing for a packed house.


Maybe you guest on a serious podcast.





I played in an LA band called Candygram For Mongo and the singer grew up with the guitar player from Hootie and the Blowfish.


We got to open one show for them at HOB in Anaheim, CA. It was sold out and just like you, I had my head up my butt and wasn’t marketing. We could’ve easily walked away with a few hundred email addresses or telephone numbers had I been paying attention.





In all fairness to myself, the technology wasn’t as amazing as it is now, so who knows, but you get the point. (Dig the mohawk?)





Here’s another example. I met this artist name Brian Ripps through a dear friend.


Brian Ripps is the REAL DEAL.


Last September Brian filmed a question he submitted to be considered for the #AskGaryVee show. (Gary Vee is Gary Vaynerchuk and I’ve written several blog articles inspired by him.)



On this episode, GENIUS LEGENDARY Producer Wyclef Jean was the guest. When Brian filmed the question his guitar playing was in the background.




Wyclef FREAKED and told Gary he should set up a jam session between Wyclef and Brian; that happened.



They filmed it and edited a performance from Brian into the show.



Gary Vee has 400,000 subscribers to his show. 64,000 people watched the video so far and you must understand these are going to be higher quality viewers. This means the conversion rates are going to be better than mass media albeit smaller audiences.





All this attention and, just like me at the Hootie show, he captured nothing. They put his Spotify link up on the video but no contacts, no relationships, no information, no nothing.




All Brian could do was wave to the camera and comment on social media saying something like, “I hope to see you soon on tour”.


Situations will “pop” up out of nowhere and if you don’t have your marketing together, you’re going to miss out on a huge opportunity to connect with a new audience who saw you amaze them. (You’re already thinking a few that have happened to you right now.)


You’re going to blow a huge opportunity to grow your audience.



Hello, this is an instance where the marketing is “mostly for the reasons we can’t think of”.



I worked with a killer indie band called 7Horse about 3 years ago. They wrote “Meth Lab Zoso Sticker” which was the theme song for Martin Scorcese’s Wolf of Wall Street” with Leonardo DiCaprio.



Dumb luck, is there such a thing?





7Horse wrote and recorded an AMAZING TRACK which Scorcese happened to stumble across on YouTube.


They played this song at the Oscars and at the Golden Globes when they announced the movie.




7Horse was invited for an interview on Adam Carolla’s podcast.


We set up a squeeze page.


They played the song and mentioned the squeeze page URL twice.





We got over 800 emails in 24 hours.




Man, y’all do such a good job blowing people’s minds with your gifts, and then forget to ask them who the hell they are so you can stay in touch.


How does this make sense?


Start getting your marketing together RIGHT NOW. You can’t afford to wait.


Who knows what will happen tomorrow?











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






For the love of God, WHY?!?!


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



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







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






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


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




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





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


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


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




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




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



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





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





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


How did this help you “spread your gospel”?


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




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



Both approaches are flawed and quite self-centered.






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


There is no new business happening.






When approaching YouTube, one must think like a marketer.


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


Makes sense, right?


So then, where can you find the new people?


How can you drive traffic to your video?



Answer:  Current cover songs.




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


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




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




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







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




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



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





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




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



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


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



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




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



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





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




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



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



YouTube little-big-town



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





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





Get it?


What is the goal here?


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





This is called marketing.


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




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




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


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



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





The packaging makes sense aesthetically, yes?


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



Understand that YouTube makes money via advertising.



YouTube NASA JSC Electronic Imagery



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




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


Make sense?


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



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





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




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


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


The rest will happen organically if you’re compelling.


It takes time.youtube-real-artist-meme


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













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I have a friend who is going through some tough times in legal sense but I feel like this person has been going through this battle for so long that their emotions are sometimes clouding their judgment as to what is important to the court and what isn’t.







I worry about this friend and their approach to this challenge lately. We have entertained many “spirited” exchanges in the interest of defining exactly how this person will be judged by the court, in other words, “What does the court see and not see”, and to get us both on the same page.


It’s easy to lose sight of the facts when your life and mental happiness are constantly under senseless attack.  Especially when it’s been going on for years and years.






A never-ending battle.


It gets exhausting.





Like you’re in a losing boxing match and the only thing you can do is keep your gloves up to protect your face.





It’s demeaning no matter how strong you are.






Good offensive strategies give way to emotionally charged stories that we tell ourselves and these stories can be accurate, derived from real-life experiences; some bad, some good .  But sometimes, often times in fact, these stories get skewed somewhere along the line and become inaccurate.


They become justifications explaining away the reasons that we feel like we can’t win.





I think this is a defense mechanism of sorts.





If it isn’t, people in this position, like my friend, certainly need one considering the onslaught of stupidity they’ve had to endure thus far.


My experience with lawyers (provided you have a good one) is that their brilliant technicians and can execute well, but without guidance, without leadership, they fall short; they’re not mind-readers.



Lawyers need to know exactly what you want and what you’re willing to do (or pay) to get there.



You must communicate exactly what you’re after and have the technician draw the map to get there.



I like to get a checklist. “If I wanted to do this, what would have to happen in the eyes of the court to ensure a positive outcome? Talk to me like a four-year-old and make sure you leave no stone unturned.”






Along with that checklist would come a price tag. Once you have ACCURATE information as to what can be accomplished and what it’s going to take to make it happen, then you can start strategizing with solid data and put together a plan of attack that will be effective for you.





Now, with a map created from accurate information, it’s the lawyer’s job to execute the plan within the legal limits and persuade a judge or judge and jury to believe what the client believes.


I feel like this concept is similar to artists who are trying to get their music out to the world.



You see, I know that if the art is well done and the artist is compelling, there is an audience that will connect with it.





But too many of you are understandably protective of your art like a momma bear to her cub, therefore you get in your own way.





This naturally leads to bad strategies based on inaccurate information derived from stories we tell ourselves.



Some of you, sadly, never get your music out there.







You trip yourself up because deep down the thought of rejection is too painful.






Often, these are compelling artists who just haven’t put the time in to learn marketing, thus, their babies never see the light of day because the market isn’t informed as to why they should care.



Remember, distribution is where consumers go to purchase or consume your music, marketing is why they go there.






It’s the artist’s job now to behave like a lawyer to the extent that they learn the law, draw the map, and persuade the market to believe what they believe.



It’s the artist’s job to control the judgment in the market.






I know it sounds crazy to think that artists fail after you consider the fact that they spend so much precious time and money to create the art and get it out of them, but they stop the process of emergence because of homemade excuses orbiting around their poor marketing execution.



Then they make up stories as to what outside forces were keeping them from reaching their goal of being a professional artist to buffer the pain of a lost dream and to feel better in front of their friends.



It’s called self-sabotage.





I see it every day in all businesses.



This phenomenon is not just relegated to artists, it’s total human nature. Deep down few of us really feel we’re worthy even though we may tell ourselves that we are.


This is fixable.


Some artists recover and move on to take a legitimate shot but others just move on in their lives and become bitter talking about the “glory days”.




Some artists courageously move forward in the face of fear and linger in the business, seemingly forever, without enough success to live a life above the poverty line.




All the courage to stay in but just enough doubt to keep them down.



They also tell stories to themselves and others as to why they can’t get ahead; always outside forces.



Here’s the deal. You will be judged by the market.






In fact, the market is the ultimate judge of any product.







Artists know this. When they avoid being judged they avoid the pain of possible rejection, don’t they?




You must learn marketing in the new music business so you can understand how to spread your gospel so-to-speak. Remember the part about asking for a checklist?





To avoid the bitterness and the stories about outside forces keeping you from your dream, you have to take responsibility for the marketing, learn it, execute it, and move forward.



You’re going to make mistakes, so what?judgment-responsibility-no-one-to-blame



Dig in anyway.





Making mistakes and moving forward is better than telling stories and moving nowhere.



This process is called learning.






You may tell yourself that you’re an artist and artists shouldn’t have to market themselves, and I would agree with that to the extent that I prefer artists to be concentrating on their art.


But you earn that level of success by creating enough cash flow to outsource the marketing tasks.


More importantly, you have to be educated on the way it really works to get your business going on zero cash flow.


You’re going to be the one to do it.



If you haven’t done it yourself, you don’t have a keen understanding of the way it works, how can you can you blame some outside force for keeping you down?






In any business, and make no mistake you’re an entrepreneur trying to start a business, you need a working knowledge of every step to effectively lead.






I’ve got other news for you, when you do get your shot, your “at bat”, you’re going to need this information to hit the home run; even if it’s someone else’s money.


Don’t dip out on your calling because you’re afraid of marketing, it’s just foreign that’s all, it’s another form of communication that when mastered, is quite satisfying.





Don’t dip out just because you’re lazy.






“I don’t have enough time” is a crappy excuse. Every time someone tells me that I can find at least 3 activities that take up their time which can be traded for productivity in their small business.



The first one is usually sleep.judgment-i-dont-have-enough-time


Y’all tell yourselves stories that you need your 8-12 hours of sleep.


Screw that.


You need 6.



Get up one hour earlier and read a marketing book. Then spend the next 30 minutes applying the knowledge from the book.






For the world to accept you, they must first become aware of you. Once they become aware of you, they’ll listen. If you’re compelling, they’ll buy your music.





Once you figure out how to squeeze in some repetition, so they hear the song at least 8 times, you’ll begin to gain serious momentum in your artist career.






If the market judges you too harshly, then you have work to do on your product.






My first shows in grade school and high school sucked.








So did yours.







We got better, didn’t we?  Your first song isn’t going to be a hit but maybe your 100th will.



Are you willing to work that hard?



Do you want it that bad?





Don’t go down on this dream just because you didn’t work hard enough, you’ll never forgive yourself.





Make your art the way you want to make it, then understand what must happen for the court to accept you, and then deliver it.











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Also, if you liked this content you’ll love my top 10 podcast called The C.L.I.M.B. with my co-host and hit songwriter Brent Baxter.marketing


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