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6 Songwriter Business Strategies

Songwriting Business Strategies feature

By Johnny Dwinell

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

Songwriter Business Strategies Chess Box image

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Strategy 1:

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

 

Strategy 2:

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

 

Strategy 3:

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

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

 

Strategy 4:

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

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

 

Strategy 5:

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

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

 

Strategy 6:

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

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

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6 Ways to Create Cashflow On YouTube

Create Cashflow On YouTube spicket image

By Johnny Dwinell

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

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

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

This means you can do it too.

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

I dig that hes not waiting around to be discovered.

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

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

This is what YOU need to do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25:25 Keywords process / promotion strategies

28:00 Website to drive traffic.

29:10 Psychology behind driving clicks

30:00 How often he is posting videos

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

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

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

40:30 How YouTube is ranking now.

Hope this provides some inspiration for Y’all!

BE FEARLESS!!

 

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DIY Artist Development

Artist Development Artist development image

By Johnny Dwinell

D.I.Y.

I am really beginning to disdain the term D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself). It should be rephrased to say what it really means which is do it without a record label because nobody does it themselves; which makes that term extremely Artist Development DIY Blackboard imagemisleading. Thats worth repeating, NOBODY makes a living in the music industry all by their lonesome so DIY is misleading. Lets break that down some more. In todays music business YOU are responsible for your development as an artist, as an act, as a business; therefore, YOU are responsible for your own team building. Maybe we should change DIY to BYOT (Build Your Own Team) or DYOA (Develop Your Own Ass) LOL. Since YOU are responsible for ultimately taking yourself from obscurity to a place where you are making a living in the music industry (either as a writer, musician, or artist) the smart people are going to look at the professional approaches that the major labels took to developing acts and try to recreate it. After all, these methods were effective, yes?

You Are Responsible For Your Artist Development

So lets look at how to recreate it. The good news is its easier than ever to recreate it. The bad news is YOU have to recreate it; YOU have to recreate some kind of development pipeline to ensure that you are competing at a professional level. Common sense very simply says that if you do not approach your career this way than you are NOT competing at a professional level; which means youre an amateur. This, in turn, means you suck and you make no money. Btw, if you think that EVERY artist who signs a major label deal isnt dealing with this conversation right here, youre delusional. Welcome to the music business.

YOU need to ensure that your songs are simply incredible.Artist Development Live Show image

YOU need to ensure that your recordings are simply incredible.

YOU need to ensure that your live show is simply incredible.

Then you need to ensure that you have a marketing pipeline and you are moving product. If the song and the recording are really INCREDIBLE people WILL respond. Its that simple (did u like my word structure there?).

THIS EFFORT is going to require a team. I cannot think of one artist EVER in the history of the music business that did it all themselves. They had mentors; they were surrounded by people who were better than they were that showed them the ropes. YOU need to do the same. YOU are green, lets face it. I mean GREEEEEN. I dont care how long you have been playing, have you done 30 shows in a row; in 30 days? No? Then youre GREEN. Your live show will transform after an effort like that. Do you have any hit singles? No? Then youre GREEN. Do you have any Cuts? No? Then youre GREEN. Everybody starts out green. John Lennon and Paul McCartney admit that their first 150 songs or so SUCKED; they were figuring it out, man. Then the Beatles went to Hamburg where they played 8 HOURS A DAY for MONTHS to get their 10,000 hours because they were GREEN. The Rolling Stones first 3 singles were cover tunes because they were GREEN. Their first 2 records were mostly cover tunes because they were GREEN; it wasnt until they wrote Last Time and it became a single that they even thought they could really write well!

If you really want to be a serious artist, you better dive into these records and LISTEN to the development so you can get a real 30,000 foot perspective on what your mission is as an artist with regards to the ART. This task will help you grow.

It will give you validation that #1 you can do this, and #2 you have a lot of work to do but it CAN BE DONE!

All artists need to be developed; they need to be encouraged and inspired to mature. Inspiration comes in many forms, but as a former artist, I can tell you that oftentimes when it comes it takes the form of someone pushing you beyond your comfort zone and it tends to PISS YOU OFF. Jesus, did I get wound up sometimes, but the people pushing me were right; if I wasnt uncomfortable then I wasnt trying anything new, which means I wasnt growing.

If youre not growing youre not serious; period.

Dont get comfortable.

Lets take Bruce Springsteen for example. His big record was Born to Run which was his third record. Most Artist Development Born To Run imagepeople dont remember the first 2 records which were Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Most people DO remember Manfred Manns Earth Band #1 hit Blinded by the Light which was written by Bruce Springsteen and appeared on the Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. record. I remember listening to an interview with the singer from Manfred Mann where he was asked why he stopped covering Bruce Springsteen songs (they also did a version of Spirit in the Night) and he said that after the 2nd record, Bruce had gotten so good at the writing he really couldnt mess around with the songs and make them better anymore. BTW, Bruce wrote Blinded by the Light and Spirit in the Night AFTER he submitted his first record to the label and Columbia said go back and write some songs that can be played on the radio SO YOU CAN COMPETE PROFESSIONALLY (pushing him out of his comfort zone). He was forced to play ball or lose his deal. Are you approaching your career this way? I encourage you to go and listen to the first 2 Springsteen records and write down the lyrics and then see for yourself how he gets it right on the 3rd record; he developed. BTW, the second verse of Blinded by the Light was all about his frustration with getting people in the bars to pay attention to him during his performances proving that he didnt walk onstage for the first time as a ROCK GOD; he developed. Similarly, check out the first 2 Bon Jovi records and compare them to the 3rd record Slippery When Wet. The difference is Polygram (his record label) understood his raw talent and put him with a hit songwriter named Desmond Child to improve the quality of the songs on the 3rd record; consequently Bon Jovi, Sambora, and Child co wrote You Give Love a Bad Name and Livin on a Prayer. These became the 1st 2 singles for the record and they would both go to #1.

You get my point here? YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS! The question is what are YOU doing to behave like the record label? What are YOU doing to surround yourself with people that are BETTER THAN YOU so you can improve?

WTF ARE YOU DOING TO DEVELOP?

I mean youre smart, right? So why would you approach your music any different than, say, a construction gig? You have a vague or nave idea of how to properly frame a door but somebody on the site shows you EXACTLY Artist Development Craftsmanship imagehow to do it; there are tricks to getting it right, there is an art behind crafting that door frame flawlessly. The first day on the job you suck, but then you learn and get better as you acquire knowledge. Music is no different; songwriting is a CRAFT! NOBODY is born a great songwriter. They are born with a need to be artistic and are TAUGHT not to settle for shit. They are TAUGHT not to be lazy! I remember reading an interview with the great Joni Mitchell where she described how she took her songs to her parents and they would say Thats great, baby, now go back and figure out a different way to say it; make it better So make sure you are trying to get with craftsmen to learn the trade! If you feel like you have nothing to learn than you have already failed. Most of you KNOW you have a lot to learn but youre scared; get over it! Its a full contact sport!

Artist Development Requires Mentorship

If you want to be professional (which means if you want to make your living at it) you need to work with professionals.

So why arent you? Where do the professionals live? Why arent you living there? Im sure you all have many reasons why you are not doing these things and the harsh reality is that they are all excuses. My dad always said excuses are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink. Maybe they are valid excuses but valid excuses are still excuses. If you are going to be professional you better get rid of the excuses as these are just reasons to get in your own way; these are reasons not to do a good job. I have so much respect for our artists like Tanya Marie Harris and Neill Skylar. Both of these ladies have young children (less than 3 years old) and STILL they FIND A WAY to come to Nashville and get it done right!! This is what its all about, people, doing it RIGHT! These girls are on a freakin mission, man, make NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT!!! Sheesh, Im just glad theyre on our side! LOL

We now have established that you need to seek professional mentors to help you grow as a songwriter. Lets face it; it all starts with the song. It amazes me how many people feel like if they record a shitty song better that it will make the song better; clearly not true.

Your next task is to then take these incredible songs that COMPETE with all the songs you love in your genre and record them properly. Recording them properly requires a killer engineer and producer (sometimes they are both but beware sometimes engineers are ONLY engineers with no artistic input whatsoever.) YOU are responsible for finding your team.

The team is more important than the studio.

Artist Development Team Building imageThis is true because you are taking your songs and creating a product with them; whether you like that reality or not. If your product is 2nd rate, nobody is going to care; you wont sell anything. If you dont sell anything you wont make a living; so you have a vanity project. Your team will help you decide what songs make the record which means they have the unwelcome task of telling you, the artist, which songs arent cutting it. Your team will help you define your sound and your lane. They will help you decide what keys to record those songs in; keys that are appropriate for your voice and put you in the best light. Your team will then cast the appropriate players to deliver the sound that everyone has agreed upon. Your team should be enthusiastic towards your project; if they are not you have a problem. Nashville is full of burnt out players with great studios who will take your money to press the record button and thats it. Nashville is full of people who dont care about the product anymore; so, I must imagine that everywhere else is the same, either they dont care about it or they dont know how to do it right in the first place. YOU have to find someone that IS enthusiastic; who really cares!

FYI, there are hundreds of producers on Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. Find one that you feel good about!

Yes, you have to pay for a team like this, but you get what you pay for. You have to ask yourself what your goals are. If you wanna do something epic, then youre gonna have to shell out a few bucks. If you wanna cut corners youre recording nothing more than a vanity project. Thats ok as long as you are aware that its a vanity project. The trouble starts when everyone wants to put their vanity project up for sale; a half-assed effort at best. Then they wonder why they arent getting any traction. Dont try and swim in professional circles with that shit, because whether you can hear it or not is irrelevant; the pros can hear the difference and you look like a tool. Imagine the NASCAR driver who wants to tell everyone hes amazing at racing and shows up to the NASCAR race with a rusted out baby-blue Dodge Dart because thats all he wanted to afford. He looks like an idiot because he brought a little knife to a gun fight, ya know?

You more than likely have a job right now and youre good at it Ill bet, just imagine how you feel about people who come into your workplace and simply dont get what you do or what they have to do to get it right. How do you feel about them? Yeah, yeah, you may say I would help them out. Maybe thats your job is training people. Labels, publishers, managers, bloggers, everyone in the professional music industry gets HUNDREDS of submissions a day, so Helping them all out is quite impossible. So you pass because they arent ready.

You wanna be a pro, then look like a pro, sound like a pro, and show up with a professional product and behave like a professional. Take your time looking for your team. Dont just take the first guy down the street who has a pro-tools rig and make him your producer. LISTEN to what he has recorded in the past. Find out what lengths hes willing to go to make something amazing. Make SURE he/she is enthusiastic!!

I remember my 1st recording experience in Milwaukee, WI when I was in High School. We would finish a take and ask the engineer, how was that? He would respond, Did you think it sounded good? We would say, Fuck yeah! Were awesome! We were really good but we were green. We didnt know. There was reverb on the bass guitar for Artist Development Baby O Recorders imageGods sake!!! I remember taking these recordings to LA to get them professionally mixed because WE WANTED TO BE GOOD. I remember the producers I used had mixed Black & Blue, and The Vinnie Vincent Invasion along with some other major label records. I remember making a killer deal on the phone for a flat rate to mix 3 songs (those cost a fortune back then FYI, there was no Pro Tools) and those guy saying, How bad could it be? I remember hanging in the lounge of Baby O Recorders on Sunset next to David Hasselhoff who was also recording there. I remember them coming out of the studio PISSED because there was reverb on the bass LOL. So embarrassing!! Im quite sure they didnt make any money off of me, because it took forever to clean up our stupid mistakes. They did it though. Our recording was kick ass! We ended up getting tons of spins on a local radio station that played the real heavy stuff. We sounded better than most of the other crap they were playing. You get it?

STOP telling yourself why it wont work and START asking, What has to happen to make this a reality?

Henry Ford stated Theres a man who thinks he can and a man who thinks he cant. Both men are right. Which man are you?

All Im saying is if its worth doing, its worth doing right. Let me save you the suspense, you are going to screw it up; but you will LEARN. Get in there and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Be fearless!!

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You Don’t Need Radio To Make A Living

radio on the air image

By Johnny Dwinell

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

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

Radio Promotion

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

How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subscribe if you would like to get regular updates on this blog

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Where Are The Taste Makers?

Tastemaker Feature image

By Johnny Dwinell

Where are the taste makers? Does anybody take the time to go down the Rabbit Hole on ReverbNation?

Does anybody click on If you like this, then youll like this” on Pandora?

I did once. The song sucked. I never did it again. There’s no filter, man, I don’t have time to risk it.

We Need The Taste Makers

What is really missing in the new music industry is the trusted taste maker, man. We need a taste maker and platform that allows the taste maker to curate. I mean terrestrial radio had the DJs and then the Program Directors thatTaste Makers Radio DJ image ultimately decided what you were going to be exposed to. Of course their filter was the record labels, which was a pretty effective filter as the labels really needed to believe, back in the day, that the artist would break before they sunk 3 albums worth of capital into the project. My buddy Brian down the street who turned me on to all the cool bands was quite effective. I also had MTV (believe it or not they used to only play music videos) which created their playlists using the labels as a filter, a curator, if you will. You either liked it or you hated any new songs BASED ON YOUR TASTE but the quality of the recordings and the quality of the songwriting always had a certain level of professionalism; the bar was high.

This techie, algorithm crap that keeps getting shoved down our throats by EVERY ONE of these startup internet radio companies SUCKS. It is NOT EFFECTIVE. Want proof? What band has ever BROKE on internet radio? What artist has ever been launched into orbit after being discovered on Spotify, or Pandora, or Slacker, or Deezer, or any of these other dumb-ass online sites? Its definitely happened on YouTube but that isnt really internet radio, although it can behave as such. The video aspect of it helps create the viral effect. Many artists have broken on YouTube, btw; new, incredibly talented artists. This doesnt happen with the websites that are audio only.

Theyre fucking it up.

Music is personal. Music is spiritual. Music is emotional. They will never invent the perfect algorithm that takes the place of the taste maker. They dont realize this because theyre techies. Trust me; this isnt the first time that a bunch of engineers have thought that the solution was all scientific. Without Steve Jobs understanding the need for both science and control, Apple products would suck just as much as your Android and PC do; and they do suck, you just dont want to admit it.

CONSUMERS DONT HAVE TIME TO GO DIGGING DOWN SOME SHITTY RABBIT HOLE TO FIND THE NEXT BIG ARTIST THEY WILL SUPPORT! They will only continue to visit these sites to hear the crusty old songs they are searching for.

And theres the rub. You have to be exposed to something that you like first, before you go searching for it. So to me, every one of these sites is nothing more that big-ass, worldwide Tower Records Store. I never went into Tower Records (back in the day they used to have record stores and stuff, they were massive like Wal-Mart spaces with Taste Maker MTV image

droves of music available to purchase) to aimlessly walk around looking at random Album or CD cases to find some cool music, I actually had an agenda. I actually KNEW what I was looking for, because I was exposed to it via terrestrial radio, MTV, or my good buddy, Brian. OK, there was a little stretch of time where I went into the Mom & Pop record store in Lake Geneva, WI to aimlessly meander around and look at CD covers, but thats because I was in love with Nancy the check out girl; I was trying to get laid! FYI, she was really hotand really crazy.

I realize there are some of you ARE the person that would buy music based on the album art, and you what I would define as the local TASTE MAKER. You are the one that always has the killer new CD first before anyone else on the block did. Brian was my local taste maker and a trusted friend but even he didn’t consume music by searching for it, he had an older brother and sister that turned HIM onto the good stuff. However, while this local tastemaker is an important role to be sure, mass consumers do not consume music this. They simply dont have the time. So why are we consistently setting up the new internet radio sites to enable mass consumers to behave like a local taste maker?

Curating

Who will be the first company to create an internet radio that is for just the indie artists?

Who will be the first company to pick good, solid, NEW music and market it online to the world? I mean, creating web traffic is not as much of a mystery these days as it once was, right?

Am I that far off to believe that once you build something like this, provided the quality of the music is GOOD, people would catch on? I think about this on a business level often. New York City is the #1 radio market in America. With some 14 million people living there, how many of them are listening to the Rock or Country station at any given time? More so during drive time to be sure, maybe a few million? 750,000? Once this WiFi thing becomes ubiquitous in automobiles (say 5-7 years), a REAL Internet radio station could do some serious damage. Creating a listenership that would dwarf any station in New York, or L.A., or Mexico City.

We need a site with a program director that pours over countless entries and DECIDES what artist is good in their own opinion.

We get that started, with some serious capital to promote it and BOOM! The 22 immutable laws of marketing will Taste Makers 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing imagetake effect, its better to be first then to be better!

We simply dont need another site that requires us to dig or do any work to be turned on to cool, new music. Create a playlist and PLAY IT for the love of Pete!! Use a good ear to decide who will make it on the station. People that tune in wont have a choice as to what they hear, other than genre.

This is what we need.

I wanna COOL station to listen to, man.

I wanna trust you, Mr. DJ. I wanna be turned on and inspired by your next selection.

This whole business of allowing everybody the space just results in too much noise on the radar screen. My ex-wife is a TV producer so I have tons of friends in the TV industry. Did you know that if you say NO to a project someone is pitching you will be statistically right 80%-90% of the time? This is a fact they actually teach!! This is because most people suck at art. That is why we are so blown away by the people who excel at art; its why music is so fascinating! There has to be a filter of sorts to weed out the dregs. Additionally, we will grow to LIKE some of these taste makers, well, taste! I predict this is the way that new artists will be able to break to a mass audience again.

It will come around, eventually. Lets face it, 90% of the indie crap that is on these online radio stations is shitateous. They consist of absolutely horrible songwriting, horrible performances, horrible recording quality, just plain horrible. Ugh.

Could you imagine if TV was set up and distributed like these online radio stations?? Oh wait, it is, its called local cable access and it BLOWS.
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PANDORA BLOWS

Pandora inet radio image

By Johnny Dwinell

Pandora Blows. Ohand they certainly dont give a shit about you. Not for one second.

Pink Floyd Blasts Pandora

Pandora Pink Floyd image

Pink Floyd wrote an op-ed piece in USA Today blasting Pandora and their douche-bag CEO Tim Westergren for essentially tricking musicians into signing a petition disguised as a letter of support for internet radio that was REALLY about slashing musician royalty rates by 85%. Read it HERE

Pandora Digital Music News imageI initially read about it HERE in Digital Music News. Btw, if you intend to make a living in the music business, youre a moron if you dont subscribe to this magazine. Someone has to at least attempt to keep their eye on the moving target.

So, we have to get educated on this people. The world is changing; fast. Ultimately for the better with regards to the music industry as it relates to indie artists, but we cant let the freakin wolves guard the henhouse any longer.

 

You can thank Sean Parker and Steve Jobs. Yes, I mean thank them. Thank them for actually making it unbelievably easier to make a living in the NEW music business. Right after you thank Sean you can kick him in the balls for stealing the music and making it worthless in the marketplace, well, at least he won, right? Hes rich at our expense; stealing is stealing and Parker is SHADY. What he did do was prove to the world that digital music was happening right now and put the train on the tracks in a very public way for digital distribution; which is mission critical to our survival as indie musicians. Digital distribution creates real revenue.

Steve Jobs put it all together in a neat little amazing package and got the artists PAID. Steve Jobs believed in artists and liberal arts. Kelly and I just listened to his biography on a long drive home from a WI visit. The reinvention of Apple was based on the intersection of art and technology; around CREATIVES and CREATION.

Eventually the dust will settle on some pretty great new soon-to-be VERY popular delivery methods of music; new and old. Until then, the shakedown will continue. We will continue to have companies who come in and exploit musicians by making millions on their music and paying NOTHING in return.

This is not news. Its been going on for decades.

Record labels have done it. Terrestrial radio has done it, MTV did it, Sean Parker and Napster did it, and now Pandora, Spotify, and a host of other companies are doing it; doing it to us.

The essence of the Pandora shakedown is to convince our Government that they are paying too much money to license your music, which generates all their revenue; thus,

Pandora cant be profitable!

But heres the rub for us. This is really important yall. THINK ABOUT THIS.

Ubiquity is gone. Get over it.

Sadly, the days of the Rockstar are gone. You really have to get over it! If you are truly over the dream of becoming rich and famous as an artist you will damn sure be paying more attention to what is going on right now with your future revenue so you can at least get paid!

As we now have literally thousands of immediately accessible internet storefronts from which to be exposed to and ultimately consume music (although the exposure comes in the form of shitateous algorithms made by techies that are as effective as screen doors on a submarineI mean if you like this then you will like this..WTF, whenever someone figures out that 99% of music consumers dont have time to search for new music, they just want to be EXPOSED to GOOD music, the world will be a better place; and someone will be super rich. But I digress) the market place is fragmented.

When its this fragmented the BIG exposure business model disintegrates and the marketplace descends down into lots of little profit centers. We have already seen it happen with television. In 1979 there were 3 stations. The US Pnadora Farrah Fawcett imagepopulation in 1980 was 226 Million people that 3 networks divided up between them; this is the definition of ubiquitous. If you were lucky enough to be, say Farrah Fawcett, on a hit TV show in the 70s you were HUGE. You were FAMOUS. You were RICH. Everyone knew who you were, what else were they gonna watch? You had a 33% chance of viewership; thats freaking huge! Nowadays, if you are a star on TV you just dont have that kind of exposure because there are 500 channels. Therefore you cant possibly be as famous. Make sense? You cant possibly be as huge. Its impossible to be ubiquitous.

 

So what DO we have?

We have clicks.

We have tribes.

We have cult followings that REAL GOOD content attracts.

Did you hear that? We have tribes, clicks, and cults, oh my. You are exposed to the actors from the shows you like but you are completely unaware of actors on shows that you do not watch because there is just too much content to be able to keep track of 10% of it all, and have a life.

Back to ubiquitous. In the 70s, if you didnt watch Farrah (or any TV star because you preferred a competing program in the time slot) YOU KNEW WHO SHE WAS, because your friends were talking about her. Everyone knew ALL the TV stars then whether they watched the shows or not. Remember Battle of the Network Stars?? They had all the biggies on one competition show and it got great ratings! Now we dont, there are just too many shows and too many actors to keep track of; too much noise on the radar screen.

So goes the music business. Get it?

The thing is, TV actors get paid. All 500 TV networks understand that the actors are going to get paid so they can create interesting content that they can broadcast to generate advertising revenue.

Tim Westergren wants to make sure that doesnt happen to you. He wants your money. He wants to literally take the food off your plate, man.

You are not going to be famous.

But you can make a living. As long as you dont allow assholes like Tim Westergren to screw you out of the revenue he creates from YOUR hard work!

If you wanna be famous, be crazy on a reality TV show, its a long shot but far better odds than getting famous in the music business. Please, do that, and leave the music business to people who really have talent and NEED to create to keep from climbing a tower with a gun. It belongs to us, and eventually this new business model will weed out the wankers and the posers.

US Terrestrial Radio Stations Do Not Pay Mechanicals

This is why this article is so important. You cannot trust the Government to think for us no matter which side of the isle you sit on. They gave terrestrial radio a pass on mechanical royalties back in the 40s; we songwriters and musicians paid for that. How important were the mechanicals? Heres a great example. Remember the 80s band Kix? The bass player wrote all the songs for that band. They had a triple platinum record, lived the Rockstar lifestyle, but the bass player was the only one that got paid because he was the writer; the rest of the band made $400 weekno mechanical royalties were paid by radio. Due to the fact that the US terrestrial radio stations dont pay mechanicals royalties and European terrestrial radio does, American artists DO NOT get paid mechanical royalties from European radio spins simply because we do not pay European artists mechanical royalties. See how huge this decision was?

Our Government gave MTV a pass on ALL royalties until they were operating in the black which magically never happened; we musicians paid for that too (although MTV really did have the power to break a band wide open, huh?). MTV was so ubiquitous, it made the non-payment of royalties worthwhile, but stillthey build a whole network on just music back in 1980 and didnt pay a dime for it.

Now here is another really important fact. MTV was so POWERFUL that they single handedly broke Guns & Roses. You know the story, 1 spin of Sweet Child o Mine at 3am on a Saturday morning and BOOM, the phones blew up! Heavy rotation followed and they were huge; Guns & Roses was saved by MTV. Would have never happened without MTV because as you may or may not know, the Appetite For Destruction record had been out for a year at that point; the band was over. Believe me the labels all quietly argued that MTV should pay royalties but didnt want to piss anyone off over there because they were so ubiquitous; they had the power to seriously launch band up to the stratosphere. MTVs argument to the government included New Technology and Massive Exposure components as they spun a tale of how important these things would ultimately be to the music industry. MTV was right. They were that important.

Paul Westergren (aka Fuckface Von Shitstick) is making the same argument with the Government that MTV did. He is working the New Technology argument, and the exposure argument. MTV was exposure. Pandora is a cacophony of noise on the radar screen that exposes nobody. You really have to be looking for a song to get to it. This is not exposure; its distribution. Westergren really believes that the search algorithms which allow people to discover new music based on what they are currently listening to is exposure. It isnt. How long has Pandora been around? Which bands EXACTLY broke to worldwide success by being played on Pandora? Come on, name ONE!!! I sure as hell cant and Im in the business. So they suck, plain and simple; there is no exposure. Pandora is essentially providing a huge haystack for artists to hide their proverbial needle and calling it important because its possible to be heard there. Ugh.

Isnt it already quite clear that if we are not paying attention to this next congressional episode headed up by Tim Pandora Inet Fairness Act ImageWestergren for Pandora, the Government will do the same thing; cave to big money. How the fuck can you really sell music for a living and go to the Government and tell them that you pay too much for the products you sell and ask THEM to change the rules? How about CHANGE THE BUSINESS MODEL!

How is this different than TV manufacturers saying we cant make a profit on flat screens so you need to tell the parts makers we are cutting their pricing by 85%?

How is this different than your boss going to the Government and saying Im paying too much for labor, so I need you to mandate a wage cut of 85% so I can make more money?

How is this even the Governments problem?

HOW IS THIS EVEN ON THE TABLE FOR DISCUSSION??

I mean, Pandora has literally doubled their subscribership in the last 2 years but 70% of their subscribers become ghosts. Again, I reiterate, NO EXPOSURE.

Pandora is a hustle, a farce. Why?

No new bands will break worldwide as a result of the worldwide exposure Pandora is giving them. So the whole business will die with the old music that creates the traffic which in turn pays the advertising revenue. Why else would all the executives immediately exercise their options and sell them?

European radio stations pay writers royalties AND mechanical royalties and manage to make a living and keep the businesses going for decades. The business model of profiting off of creatives while the creatives get paid is not a fantasy. It happens every day, just not here in America.

Steve Jobs managed to put together a new platform that pays royalties to artists and writers AND make a profit.

So I would like to say this to Tim Westergren: STFU

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Are You Paying Attention To The Losers?

By Johnny Dwinell

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

Why?

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

 

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

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

You have to develop yourself.

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

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

How are we going to do that you ask?

By studying the losers; FYI, theres a lot.

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

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

Now, how does this associate with the music business?

What do we have to learn from the losers?

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

Only 10% were profitable.

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

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

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

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

Want some proof?

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

Want some more?

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

A Radio Promo Budget Doesn’t Mean Success

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

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

Just ask the RIAA and Danny Goldberg.

Please share this if you like it!

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HOW TO GET PAID FOR YOUR MUSIC ONLINE

How to Get Paid For Your Music Online get paid image

By Johnny Dwinell

So we just got done with CMA week here in Nashville this past week. Crazy!!! Tons of fans and tons of artists and Tons of INDIE artists!!! I can’t believe that the indie artists are not educating themselves on this important business aspect of selling music.

 

Step two is LEAD CAPTURE (a.k.a squeeze pages).

 

If you are unsure what a squeeze page is, then check on our blog section to read about it. I devoted a whole blog post to the subject; because its important. The short answer is a squeeze page helps you capture email addresses. So now we have the email address and the attention of your new fan. These email addresses should be considered SALES LEADS; get it?

 

Once we have their email addresses they are clearly interested in what you have to offer, at least the free download. Now, assuming you have a KILLER sounding track and most importantly a KILLER song, the market is going to respond. I remember the first time I heard Metallicas Enter Sandman on the radio, THE FIRST TIMEyes, yes, I was already exposed to Metallica and I was prepared (or at least hopeful) to LOVE the track. God, that riff was UNBELIEVABLE!!! The song was so DAMN GOOD I FREAKED OUT!! Ill bet you all have had many experiences like that with your favorite artists; after all, this is why we are here, we freaking LOVE music. Well, if you take care of business with the writing and you take care of business with the recording then the internet market will have the same reaction! HOLY SHIT!! This track rocks!! Where can I buy the CD?? Thats the response you should be getting. If you are not, then youre music isnt that good or your fishing in the wrong pond.

Now begins the marketing process.

Step three is MARKETING.

This is where you begin to cultivate your following with constant, appropriate contact and content.

This is where you make money.

This is where a big cash register is located for your business that none of you are minding.

When you have their email address and the consumers Opt In, you now have permission to market to them through their email; where you will stay until the email is opened or discarded opposed to social media where you here and gone in a few seconds. Think about that for a second, while you will take everyone in social media, the whales with big followers/friends/etc. are quite ideal because if they like you and give you a shout out, now youre exposed exponentially to more people. However, the more followers/friends one of your followers has, the more chatter is constantly on their RADAR screen. For instance with Twitter, any tweet is going to show up momentarily before they have to dig for it. Make sense? With an email address youre inside the circle.

It is important to remember that you cant blast anybody with BUY THIS NOW and BUY THAT NOW, because if they feel like they are being marketed to, they will unsubscribe so fast your head will spin!! So there is a definite art to the language you have to use to peak their interest.

There is an art to sales.

Dont believe me? Dont like the word sales? I know, I KNOW, we all hate the sales guys, right? We all hate the smarmy sales guys. Its true; but we dont hate the good ones, because we dont FEEL like weve been sold. The fact is that EVERY PERSON HAS to go through a certain mental process before they will part with money. This is the art of sales.

Sales, is the act of walking someone through the psychological steps they need to satisfy before they purchase and then ultimately asking for the money. Its been proven for over 130 years! Its been taught with many different names and metaphors, but the simplest program is a 4-step program called AIDA.

Heres a breakdown of those steps in the simplest form.

AIDA

  • A Attention (or Awareness) – This is where you attract the attention of the customer. (This is whatHow to Get Paid For Your Music Online AIDA Sales Chart the free download is for!)
  • I Interest – This is where you raise customer interest by focusing on the benefits of what you have to offer. (Packaging works well for this like 2 for the price of 1)
  • D Desire This is where you increase the desire of the customer to get your product, you convince them that they need it NOW! Scarcity still works well here, i.e. limited time offers etc.
  • A Action This is where you take action to get the customers to take action and purchase the product. This is the CLOSE. This is where you get paid!!!

Check out the definition of AIDA and the history of it HERE

Every infomercial has these elements, watch for them now that you can define themyou will be amazed. Every sales pitch, every deal ever made has these elements with the exception of drugs, LOL. Like Chris Rock said, I dont know why people should be busted for selling drugs. Drugs sell THEMSELVES! I never knew a crack dealer who was quoted as saying WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITH ALL THIS CRACK!!!

Well, yall participate in sales/marketing constantly every day. When one of your best friends calls up to tell you about a party he wants to attend in lieu of your current plans, he/she is marketing to you. When yall are trying to decide what restaurant to go eat at, someone is marketing to you about their favorite place because thats what THEY want to do. Thats where THEY want to go and they want you to convert to their way of thinking. In short, they are influencing (or not influencing) your buying decision. Consider this, you deal with sales and marketing from your friends every day but it doesnt FEEL like marketing, does it? It doesnt FEEL as invasive as the sales phone call, or the used car salesman, or the CRAZY EDDIES ELECTRONIC STORE COMMERCIALS!!!!!!!! (Every town has a Crazy Eddie of some sort!)

Why?

The answer to this question is the secret to online marketing. Its because yall are friends.

Crazy, right? This is the secret. People will give you much more of their attention and at least RECEIVE the information you want to give them (i.e. hear you out) if they feel an attachment to you, a connection of some sort. So when you focus on this aspect of your relationship building on social media sights along with your marketing once people are in your sales funnel and become LEADS, you have a far better percentage of people who will convert.

There is an art to the language you will use to market to your prospects without them feeling like they are being marketed to and you can AUTOMATE the responses and the email drips for everyone that enters the sales pipe.

There is an effective formula for what language is on these emails and when, exactly, they go out. There is also some gangsta technology like exit pops and redirecting that helps increase your percentages.

How to Get Paid For Your Music Online MMM imageAgain, Im sure there are hundreds of companies that offer in depth data on these processes, and I feel the best one is from John Oszajca. This program costs money, but its worth the education if you are serious about making a living. You can check it out HERE

Dig in Yall. You can do this. You can make money selling your music, but its no different than selling anything else, ok? You have to be a business person to make it happen or surround yourself with a business person who is willing to do it for you.

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Online Marketing Steps: Step One EXPOSURE

Exposure marketing steps image

By Johnny Dwinell

Step one is EXPOSURE

exposure SI image

Major labels use radio (or used to use radio for pop and rock music) to EXPOSE you to the good stuffum.erokthe stuff (some of its good, most of it is bad); once you hear it enough (enough is defined as the magic marketing number for a hit song, like 7 times I believe?) then you are influenced to purchase the music; the song is stuck in your head. This makes sense why getting heavy rotation on radio stations is so important, right? Bottom line is that radio spins, especially in heavy rotation are used to influence your buying decision; whether you like it or not. Ever have a song you HATE stuck in your head because you heard it on the radio?? This is the exact agenda for any exposure to a single. As simple as it sounds, the more people are exposed to a song, the more people are going to like it. I would be willing to bet that almost none of you fellow artists have really put any thought into EXACTLY how you are going to expose your product once you are done recording the record.

I have a plan. Im not the first by far to think of it. But lately, I think Im definitely one of the few that are taking ACTION to utilize these amazing online/social media weapons; literally. The major labels dont know what the hell they are doing in this arena; its called a paradigm shift. Paradigm Shift is defined HERE.

Its happened time and time again throughout history in EVERY industry. Ive got good news for you Indies out Exposure Paradigm shift coffee cupthere; the real big corporations in ANY paradigm shift (i.e., the major labels and such in the music industry) are far too entrenched in making profits and saving their dying business model to pay any real necessary attention to the new paradigm. Its a sure bet! I mean think about it, if you were the CEO of the biggest buggy whip company on Earth when the Ford Model T came out, what are your choices? You have kids in college, a lifestyle, an MO that is tried and true, a track record and reputation to protect; you dont have time to utterly change everything you know to prepare for the future. This holds true for the big record labels and their respective management; these companies are publicly traded and have to answer to their investors. BTW, its illegal NOT to make a profit when you publicly traded, so you just cant go around willy-nilly, abandoning your old, reliable, business model to prepare for the future. Youre investors who bet on your current business model wont have it. So, you manage the sinking ship as best you can until you are fired. You stay on the ride until the wheels fall off. Hey, who can blame them?? They OWN terrestrial radio; they own them so much that Terrestrial Radio forces crap on the air, and everyone knows crap when they hear it (just ask a real radio promo person whos worked for any label), so they can maintain the money relationship. After all, whos paying for the ad space required for the survival of the terrestrial radio stations with dying (or significantly shrinking) listening audience? When you still wield that heavy sword, you just dont need to be responsible for the change when its still far more profitable and far more comfortable to manage the decline.

Are you starting to pick up what I am putting down?

They are all going down with the ship. Want proof? Want real social proof? What was the reaction of EVERY major record label to iTunes when it first came out? Talk about denial!! But, its really not denial as much as it is pragmatism; they truly have no other choice. This is the utter definition of the adage, When there is blood in the streets, there is money to be made.

I have seen a paradigm shift like this before with the distribution business model in the electronics industry after Michael Dell decided to sell directly to the customer. Think about it, did you ever buy a brand new Dell computer from anyone other than Dell? You have seen this with outlet malls. If youre Levis or Coach, why sell only to distribution for HALF the revenue knowing the distributors have no real allegiance to your product, when you can set up a storefront yourself and get 100% of the pie selling ONLY your brand name? Once Dell started this new paradigm, most electronics distributors would be out of business within the next decade. The biggies sank like a stone and still made more money than the Indies in that time period; but the Indies survived, man. The biggies died; remember Comp USA?

This is what goes on today in the music industry. Most of yall are still dreaming of getting your song on the radio; still focusing on a business model that is not only dead or rapidly dying, but in its heyday was a 90% LOSING proposition!

Why??

Dont get me wrong, as I mentioned before the biggies still make the most money, so if I could get my song on the radio TODAY, I would definitely do it. Truth is, at Daredevil Production, we are considering some business Exposure 10 percent imageinitiatives that are geared towards songwriters and radio play, but it is nowhere near our main business plan because its not the future and its a long shot. Unfortunately, back in the day (or fortunately today) even after you got your coveted record deal you still only had a 10% chance of making money; and this WAS the only way to be a recording artist. However, right now, more independent musicians are MAKING A LIVING playing music than ever before. Check out this article that just came out in Digital Music News HERE; in fact, I would go out on a limb and say that if you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want it, you can absolutely make a living in music today. We personally know more than a few indie artists that you have probably never heard of who tour 200-250 dates per year, have homes, car payments, families, etcall financed through independent touring, recording, merchandising, etc. In short, I see it happen all the time.

So if we agree that your music is stellar, or at least can find an audience, then the biggest missing piece of the puzzle is

EXPOSURE

The same principles the major labels used with radio exposure will go for online marketing only the game is significantly different. The game is different in that there is no limit to the pipeline whatsoever, like there was in terrestrial radio. There is a lack of filters and a definite lack of any supremely popular or even ubiquitous delivery method to bank on; its truly the wild, wild, west. The principles are the same in that on radio you had to create a buzz by exposing your music to everyone that would spin it; you needed to make some serious NOISE!! With online marketing we still need to make a bunch of noise first to get people EXPOSED to the music and ultimately LIKE it; so we use social media and press; mostly social media. The game is different in that you need to begin to create and foster real relationships with your fans on these social media sights. They are out there and they are starving for GOOD music and they want access; access to you, the artist.

The rock stars of the social media music world can be found on crowd funding sites like Kickstarter.com

Check out Amanda Palmer HERE. Her relationship building skills are so kick-ass she got 25,000 people to back her record project and tour. She asked for $100,000 and they gave her $1.2 Million.

Check out the most funded music projects at Kickstart.com HERE

Theres your social proof that it can be done. Now how did they do it?

Social Media

Exposure Twitter logo imageHeres whats great about social media; its totally surgical. You can literally find immense amounts of like-minded buyers in perfect little clubs all over the internet. If you feel your music speaks mostly to pale-Asian-boys-under-the-age-of-15-with-medium-acne then you can seriously find these little honeycomb hideouts. You can find Twitter followers, Facebook Clubs, Specialty Websites, etc. specifically created to support unique groups with just such a criteria.

See my point??

 

What an opportunity to get your music exposed to the very people YOU KNOW will have the highest chance of loving it! They are already demographically defined for you and ready to listen!

Heres a real life example: Daredevil Production has started a Twitter campaign for our artist Craig Gerdes debut single Haggard Fan; you can check it out for free at Haggardfan.com. If you listen to the song you will first see Exposure Craig Gerdesthat is quite clever and a GOOD song; maybe even a hit song. If this song finds the financial backing it needs to get on the radio (at LEAST $500,000) I believe it would literally be a marketing sensation, almost in a novelty song kind of way in the sense that once it got on Country Music Radio it would be blasphemy NOT to play it. The lyrics skillfully weave a bunch of Merle Haggard hit song titles into a story line about a blind date; a definite homage to Hag. If I dare say, the best homage to Hag I have heard.

So, we have Haggard Fan which is a GREAT song; this is mission critical if you have any dreams of success with the exposure step.

If youre song is average, your screwed.

Haggard Fan is recorded AMAZINGLY (if I dont say so myself, LOL) which is also mission critical these days.

Once you have a GREAT RECORDING of a KILLER, UNDENIABLE song, we need to expose it to people who will really enjoy it. So if you were marketing Haggard Fan through Twitter, where would you go? THINK ABOUT ITthats rightMerle Haggards Twitter followers. Of COURSE they are going to be the group of people who are most likely to love it! There are over 74,000 of them (when I wrote this blog).

So far we have over 1,300 followers for Craig Gerdes. These are 1,300 people who followed back after we followed them. As a thank you for following we offered a free download of Haggard Fan to expose these people to the song. A decent percentage of them convert and download the song for free. They tweet about the song (see for yourself @craiggerdes and @craiggerdes2), we are creating relationships. These people cannot wait to see Craig play live, to hear his next song, to buy his CD which we havent even recorded yet; some of them have even invited Craig to stay with them when he comes through on tour!

SIDENOTE: Listen, even if you are marketing online, you are competing with the music on the radio. You are competing with artists whom you should consider your peers. SO COMPETE! Quit freakin recording cheap-ass demos and getting frustrated because you cant make any money. I mean, would you really expect to win a Exposure Don't Be Cheap imageNASCAR race in a rusted out baby-blue 1967 Dodge Dart, just because you can drive as well as the other NASCAR drivers? I mean think about the business and your current thought process, well, I know I have the talent, but I can save some money with this rusted out beauty right here, so well just see how it goes. Can you imagine? Theres no way youre going to win. Similarly, there is absolutely no excuse for a track that doesnt sound radio ready. I mean, it used to take $250,000 to make a record back in the day, so YOU HAD to get the money from somewhere else; it was hard to get in the door and when you did, you had a 90% of failing. Nowadays, you can get a decent record cut for a little more than 10% of that cost. And you dont need to record a whole record either. So if its worth doing, its worth doing RIGHT. So quit screwing around already.

We had another artist that came to us who GETS it. Shes a Canadian artist; her name is Tanya Marie Harris. I remember her telling me on the phone she wanted greatness. I remember her saying, For what you and Kelly are charging for 2 songs, I can record a whole CD up here in Torontoof mediocrity. So we went to work to create something amazing; and that we did.

Check out her first single for free HEREExposure Tanya Marie Harris image

Check out her first Press Release HERE

There are TONS of producers who can do what we do. My intention is not to promote us but to promote the idea that you need to be great, so find your creative team to record the greatness, and then be smart about EXPOSURE.

So the only thing standing in the way of your success is you.

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Squeeze Pages and Marketing Music Online

Squeeze Page Music Marketing image

Johnny Dwinell

Squeeze pages are an absolute necessity if you plan to sell any of your music online. Wait, they are a necessity if you plan MAKE A LIVING selling your music online.

At 30,000 feet, heres the breakdown. A squeeze page is a one page web address where you and the consumer get tit for tat. They give you their information IN RETURN for something, you give them something in return for their email address and name. For instance, the most common use of this in the music industry is where a consumer is driven to the squeeze page and they enter their name and email address in return for a free download of the artists music track. Check out some of the Daredevil Production artists squeeze pages below, and feel free to get your free tracks if you want. J

Squeeze Pages

 

Haggardfan.com Artist: Craig GerdesSqueeze Pages Gerdes image

Unclerowdy.com Artist: J.C. Bridwell

Awomanscorned.ca Artist: Tanya Marie Harris

As you can see these are not the artists website, they are squeeze pages with one purpose; to gather contact information so the artists can market to the consumers directly. When a consumer converts on the site, they immediately get their free download and automatically jump right to the respective artists website (or at least they should). So the idea here is that you will use all the exposure/marketing tools you have (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Indie Radio, Magazine Interviews, Live Shows, Press Releases, etc.) to DRIVE traffic to the squeeze page. They input the contact data and now you are building a customer list.

SIMPLE PREDICTABLE MATH EQUATIONS

  • Exposure = traffic.
  • Traffic + squeeze page (aka lead capture) = Potential customers (aka prospects aka prospect conversions as they converted through the squeeze page)
  • Potential Customers (Prospect conversions) + effective sales funneling = SALES$$$$.

Thats the broad strokes at 30,000 feet.

John Oszajca has an incredibly comprehensive course on this. It costs money but its quite effective and for an artist who hates computer bullshit like me, the videos walked me through every step of music marketing processhe actually shows you how to do everything. I bring it up not because I am trying to push it on you or sell it to you, but because I am going to quote a predictable math equation directly from this course that will blow your mind and I want to give credit where credit is due; John Oszajca. I will leave a link below if you are interested in exploring it further.

Lets say you make $40,000 a year at your crappy job that you work to pay the bills until you make it with your music career. If you could make $40,000 per year with your music it would be much easier to leave that job, yes?

So watch me turn the above equation into real $$$.

Once you have your customer list, the goal is to get your average-revenue-per-email-address up as high as you can. My previous business experience has shown me that with an effective sales funnel, these numbers are pretty solid, and once again, mathematically predictable in any business, in any industry.

Lets say you have 1,000 email addresses from your squeeze page (we will talk about how to accomplish that in a bit). Essentially these 1,000 email addresses are potential customers or prospects as we call them in the business world; you could also call them sales leads (if it doesnt make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit LOL) because thats exactly what they are. Talk to any 100 successful sales professionals in any business and they will tell you that sales leads usually convert around an average of 5% (give or take depending on the salesman). So, out of these 1,000 email addresses, only 50 will probably purchase your CD for $10; thats gross revenue of $500 or an average-revenue-per-email-address of .50 cents.

  • 1,000 (email addys) x .05 (5%) = 50 (buyers) (no longer prospects)
  • 50 x $10 = $500 (gross revenue)
  • $500 (gross revenue) 1,000 (email addresses) = .50 cents (average-revenue-per-email-address)

Are you with me so far?

Now, out of the 50 buyers, any savvy sales associate will tell you that 30% of the buyers are willing to be up-sold for a better deal, a package of some sort (like merch, or an old CD, some demo recordings, or autographs, access to you at live shows, private performances, or whatever you can dream up.) So, that means that 15 of the 50 buyers are predictably inclined to spend more money for a better deal. So if you create a package that includes the $10 CD plus another $40 worth of stuff, you have 15 people spending an extra $40 dollars right?

  • 50 (buyers) x .30 (30%) = 15
  • 15 x $40 = $600 (additional revenue)
  • $600 (up-sell pkg revenue) + $500 (CD sales revenue) = $1,100 (gross revenue)
  • $1,100 (gross revenue) 1,000 (email addys) = $1.10 (average-revenue-per-email-address)

Hang in therethis is where it gets FUN!

Any experience sales person in any business will also agree that roughly 5% of the buyers are willing to REALLY be up-sold. This equates to roughly 2.5 people out of the 50 buyers who will buy a BIG package. For example, the $10 CD, plus the $40 package, PLUS.I dont know, lets say you offer a 1 hr acoustic private performance in their living room (or at a frat party, or a BBQ or whatever) for $400 discounted down from the normal $800 you get when purchased by itselfyou pickin up what Im putting down?? This would mean that 2.5 people would be willing to spend an additional $400 to get the best package you have to offer.

  • 50 (buyers) x .05 (5%) = 2.5
  • 2.5 x $400 = $1,000 (additional best pkg. revenue)
  • $1,000 (additional best pkg. revenue) + $1,100 (up-sell pkg. revenue) + $500 (CD revenue) = $2,100 (GROSS REVENUE)
  • $2,100 (Gross Revenue) 1,000 (email addys) = $2.10 (average-revenue-per-email-address)

In other words, you can build your business to $2,100 per 1,000 email addresses.

Remember our original goal was to replace the $40,000 per year you are making at your crappy job, right? Well, the question now is how many email addresses do I need to make $40,000 this way?? Im gonna say that againnow the question is how many email addresses do I need to make $40,000 per year. Awesome!

  • $40,000 $2,100 = 19.05 ($2,100 goes into $40,000 19.05 times)
  • 19.05 x 1,000 (email addys) = 19,047 (email addys)
  • You would need around 19,047 email addresses per year to make $40,000 per year.

19,047 (email addys) 365 days per year = 52.1 (email addys) that you would need per day. WOW!!! That looks a lot easier, huh?

Squeeze Page Traffic

Now, the next question is how much traffic do you have to drive to your squeeze page per year to generate 19,047 conversions??? Well, if you set up your squeeze page correctly, you should be able to generate around a 25% conversion rate, I have seen higher conversion rates with some really hot products in the past but I believe that 25% is TOTALLY doable. To be transparent, I have also seen lower conversion rates as well. I have seen them on my own squeeze pages!! This just means your squeeze page requires tweaking, but it can always be improved.

So heres the equation:

  • 19,047 .25 (25%) = 76,188 visitors to the squeeze page.
  • 76,188 visitors 365 days = 208 people per day.

Get it? 208 people per day to a squeeze page is EASY.

208 visitors per day with a 25% conversion rate = 52 email addresses per day. With a $2.10 average-revenue-per-email-address = $40,000 per year!!!

416 visitors per day with a 25% conversion rate = 104 email addresses per day. With $1.05 average-revenue-per-email-address = $40,000 per year!!!

THESE NUMBERS DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR TICKET REVENUE. Squeeze Pages Concert Tix image

THESE NUMBERS DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR CD REVENUE AT THE SHOW

THESE NUMBERS DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR MERCH REVENUE AT THE SHOW.

You can make a living doing what you love to do, but you have to be a bit of a business person.

If you would like step by step instructions from John Osazjacas Music Marketing Manifesto on how to set all this up and seriously make a living with your own music online, you can check it out HERE

Listen get it dont get it, I dont give a shit. The business model is sound. I just wanna help more of yall make money so I can produce your next record!

Stay tuned next week for some tips on driving traffic to your squeeze page and general online marketing.

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