Tag Archive for: Rick Barker

Flaws Gun Pointing

The record business is rife with fatal flaws. Even in the heyday there were huge mistakes constantly made by major record labels and those flaws are showing big time Flaws Flawed eggin the new music industry.

 

 If you ask any CEO from any company in any industry on any part of this planet what their most valuable asset is, they will tell you it’s their customer list.

 

 

Yes, their people are important but you can’t pay good people without cash flow from customers.

Yes, their intellectual property is hugely important, but you can’t monetize intellectual property without customers.

 

Maybe you’re a fan of Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Dodge, Porsche, BMW, etc.flaws automakers

From the perspective of the CEO’s of any company, you are a customer, maybe even a loyal customer.

 

Artist “fans” are called “customers” in every other business.

 

Get it?

Businesses go to GREAT lengths not only to build and maintain customer lists but also to DEEPEN the relationships with those customers.

Think about your Kroger or Ralph’s (grocery store) discount card.  They offer discounts in exchange for information on your buying habits.

 

flaws discount card

They KNOW if you like 1% milk or 2% milk.

They KNOW what kind of beer you like.

 

They KNOW when you prefer to shop, how much you normally spend, and what products you normally spend your money on.

 

Now, if we put a gun to Tim McGraw’s head, Katy Perry’s head, AC/DC’s heads, Jay-Z’s head, or Daft Punk’s helmets, they couldn’t tell us who’s buying their music.

The fatal flaw is they don’t know who their customers are!

 

If you don’t have a customer list, not only is it impossible to identify who the customers are, you certainly can’t contact them.

 

If you cannot directly contact the customers, you have to spend MILLIONS of dollars on what they call “Branding Campaigns” (that’s super expensive advertising in plain English).

Branding Campaigns put an artist everywhere there is to be for a few weeks at a time to plug the new release and continue to promote it.

 

People, Us, Vanity Fair, Country Weekly, Taste of Country, blogs, nationwide radio, Letterman, Fallon, Ellen, Seth Meyers, GMA, Today Show, Newspapers, blah, blah, blah.

 

But what of the artists who don’t have million dollar budgets?

 

DSC_5393

What about the artist you USED to have million dollar budgets?

 

Even with a million dollar brand name (think any former major label artists who no longer have a major label) the sales will suffer simply because the customers don’t know the product is available.

What if there was a way to “capture” contact information that would become a customer list?

 

An artist with an active customer list could:

  • Deepen relationships with customers creating a tribe-like following.flaws iceberg
  • Offer exclusive content to make customers feel like they’re “in-crowd”.
  • Monetize it by changing to a subscribership business model (think Netflix).
  • Inform the customers of new content on YouTube and grow the subscribership.
  • Then Monetize YouTube (creating another cash register).
  • Inform the customers of any contests the artist is having.
  • Inform the customers of upcoming concerts.
  • Disseminate any images or content offering social proof of awesomeness.
  • Cross promote other artists
  • Obtain Corporate Sponsorships
  • Monetize it through sales on the artist’s web store.

Some of you hate this idea but I’ll bet if you were famous you would at least entertain the idea of a clothing line, or perfume scent wouldn’t you?

The tremendous power that direct customer contact will bring to an artist was demonstrated quite clearly by Taylor Swift in 2014.

flaws taylor swift 1989

 

We have probably the biggest superstar on the planet who released a new record but she switched genres.

 

Yeah, yeah some will argue that Taylor Swift was never really “country” but the point is that all Taylor’s previous records were promoted on Country Radio and “1989” wasn’t.

 

 

Country radio felt that Taylor abandoned country music and moved WAY too far into the pop world and therefore refused to promote it by spinning her new singles.

Come to think of it, in Nashville, I haven’t heard ANY Taylor Swift songs on country radio for quite some time which is crazy considering they are continuing to spin every single ever put out by her country peers like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, etc.

Here’s the point, she still had the bestselling record of 2014.flaws social media nails

 

This was true because her fans KNEW the record was coming via her social media.  This is huge because while I’m sure most of you are plugging away at your social media, “Swifties” feel like they have a special connection with Taylor.

 

That’s the key.

 

Don’t fool yourself on the power of her superstardom either, it was the connection.

 

Want proof?

 

George Michael was a superstar stadium act that had sold 25 million albums and 15 million singles with Wham! before he ever got his solo deal with Columbia.  His first solo release was “Faith” which sold a whopping 25 million copies. In September of 1990 George released his 2nd solo effort entitled “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” (arguably considered his artistic masterpiece).

flaws george michael

 

 

George was sour at the fact that the Sony Corporation had purchased CBS records. He tried to exercise a “Key Man Clause” in his contract once artist beloved CBS Records President Walter Yetnikoff was replaced with Tommy Mattola in 1990.  Tommy took that action personally and detested George’s artistic refusal to appear in any videos to promote the record. As a result, Sony chose not to promote “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” and it sold a disappointing 8 million units.

What would have happened if George had been able to contact his 25 million customers?

 

Want to know how you capture this information?

 

There are 2 primary ways (depending on the age of your audience) that you can capture customer contact data and begin to build your list.

1 way is called a “Squeeze Page”. flaws_Twitter_Squeeze_Page

A squeeze page is designed to “squeeze” the contact information out of a potential customer (usually a name and email address) while allowing the customer to “opt in” to email driven marketing initiatives.

The idea is you offer what my friend Rick Barker calls an “ethical bribe” by exchanging a free track(s) for the contact information.

I mean, you need to know where to send the customer’s free track right?

 

Here are a few links to some squeeze pages we have created at Daredevil Production, LLC. I recommend you experience some of these as a consumer. You can always UNSUBSCRIBE at the bottom of each email address if you want.

  • GiftFromJohnny.com (this is to a free download of my bestselling Twitter Book which you are welcome to have if you don’t already own it)Flaws_Ty_Herndon_Squeeze_Page
  • GiftFromTy.com (this is a free track from Platinum country artist Ty Herndon)

 

 

While there is an art to structuring a squeeze page that will optimize conversions, it can totally be mastered.  Check out companies like Lead Pages to help you capture that info and store it.  (If you have any problems, simply give us a flaws lead pagescall and we are happy to help you set up your own squeeze page.)

 

 

 

A second methodology which is extremely effective for younger audiences (not so much for audiences over 50) is the text capture methodology.flaws call loop logo

Check out companies like Call Loop. They offer the ability for your customers to text a “key word” and receive instant downloads of your music.

Now you have their phone number.

 

Text messages have a 99% open rate.iphones

 

Whoa.

So imagine you’re playing a live show and you own the crowd. From the stage you instruct everyone to “Raise their phones in the air for a FREE track!” and just like that you get 50 phone numbers.

 

Did you rock the house?

 

Did you leave your audience wanting more?

 

Does your show feel like an event?

 

Would they LOVE a text from you 1 week before your next show?Flaws no fatal flaws

 

I’ll bet they would.

 

As an independent artist, you can avoid fatal flaws.

 

Stay In Tune.

 

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Skeptic Feature image

 By Johnny Dwinell

Lately, I’m proud to say, many of my articles have been reposted by some resource sites that have far greater traffic than ours does. Every so often, I get a wild hair and a little extra time that directs me to read some of the comments people leave about my blog posts. This is a rare occurrence but interesting because, while I receive and reply to all comments on Daredevilproduction.com, I don’t get “pinged” when comments are posted anywhere else. Additionally, one cannot directly reply to any comments on these sites.

Reading the feedback on any given post is usually motivating because most people get the information or at least find something in there that inspires them, teaches them, makes them aware, etc., and they make a point to say so.

…and then there is always at least 1 skeptic.

At least one person who takes the time to spin or trump up some undesirable angle so he/she can poo-poo all the information and go on about their life and career as-is with no meddlesome disruptions that would threaten their current understanding of how the music business works.

I am still an artist and will always have an artist heart

I want to thank anyone who takes the time to remark on the positive and/or helpful info that they received from my articles. Even though I operate at high level on the business side IMG_8642of my brain, I am still an artist and will always have an artist heart. That means it’s wounded pretty easily from disapproval and nourished by positivity.

While I totally understand that being divisive on certain subjects is a good thing (negative comments means I’m touching a nerve somewhere right?), I must admit that the adverse interpretations get me thinking a lot; sometimes too much. I guess I just can’t help wanting to please everyone.

 

Yesterday, I was reading the comments on an article called 20 Biggest Marketing Mistakes. I experienced mostly great comments and, of course, 1 skeptic.

This skeptic trashed all the information because, in his head, we were selling something.

If you’ve already read it, #18 in the article stated “You won’t pay for coaching” as a mistake. The skeptic then summed up the whole article as a hustle to lead people into paying us for coaching.Skeptic LEARN image

Everybody needs to be educated. Especially in an environment where the targets you must hit to survive are constantly moving. If you can get free coaching a.k.a. on-the-job-training or an internship, God bless! The rest of us will have to learn somewhere else or suffer through doing the same ineffective routine that gets us the same, useless results. Btw, isn’t college paid education/coaching?

So THIS thought got me thinking about how and why the consummate skeptics self-sabotage. They don’t want to find the answers because that would mean they would have to stop complaining and actually show up for work.

Showing up for work means they would have to take responsibility for the results.

A level of skepticism is quite healthy. We definitely need a “devils-advocate”, if you will. We believe in this concept so much at Daredevil Production, LLC that Kelly and I regularly practice skepticism against any new ideas we bring up. We actually try to blow holes in the concept to test their strength and validity. The difference is that the skepticism is served up in a positive spirit of finding the truth rather than some hostile rant of pure negativity.

But like anything else in life, too much skepticism is the opposite of healthy.

It’s debilitating. Sometimes this is unconscious, and sometimes people are just downright angry, evil, and bitter so they do it intentionally.

Either way, the damage to the skeptic is the same.

skeptic don't be afraid move forwardThey don’t move forward.

Skeptics will typically label themselves as “unlucky”, that’s one big reason they are so damn skeptical.

The definition of luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparation. Now, as you read that your eyes are glazing over.

True as it may be, It’s a cliché isn’t it?

 

As artists we want to believe in skill and talent.

The truth is that skill and talent will always get you more “at bats” in life, but it certainly does NOT guarantee success.

The other truth is most artists require a little more validation (I use “a little more” in the same way a bar would use “free beer Skeptic Free Beer Tomorrow singtomorrow”…it never comes) before they really get to work on the preparation part of the equation.

Too many artists are waiting for the opportunities to present themselves before they invest in the work portion of the formula.

So the “Luck Equation” is changed. When it’s changed the opposite happens; you get unlucky. Then I guess you ultimately become a skeptic.

Let’s look at luck and skeptics who consistently feel unlucky from a different perspective. I was reading an incredible article about Survivorship Bias. This article was LONG but so worth the read. It focused on the human proclivity for noticing and therefore studying winners simply because winners are more visible than losers.

Skeptic You are not so smart imageFor instance you want to open a restaurant because you see so many successful restaurants in your neighborhood. What you don’t see is that 90% of restaurants fail.

You want a record deal because you see all the successful artists and they inspire you. What you don’t see is that 90% of signed artists fail. It’s always been that way.

Get it?

In this article there was a portion that basically attributed all successes to luck. Which is disturbing at first glance, until you consider the following facts:

  • Luck isn’t fairy dust
  • Luck isn’t a mythical force where the Gods determine the haves and have-nots.

There are many scientific studies that show luck (and Luck’s opposite which leads to skepticism) to be a measurable output of a group of predictable behaviors.

While randomness, chance, and the noisy chaos of reality may be impossible to predict or tame, luck and therefore skeptics are something else.Skeptic We only regret the chances we didn't take image

Huh?

Luck and skeptics are the results of a human being consciously interacting with chance.

The example given in this article was compelling. These scientists followed the lives of 400 people of all ages and professions over a 10 year period. The scientists found these people through newspaper articles that asked for subjects to apply if they thought of themselves as generally very lucky or generally very unlucky. The subjects were asked to keep diaries, participate in experiments, and be interviewed over the course of the decade.

In one such experiment, the subjects were given a newspaper and asked to count the number of photographs inside. The people who labeled themselves as generally unlucky took an average of 2 minutes to complete the task.

The people who considered themselves generally lucky took an average of a few seconds.

The scientist had placed an ad in GIANT BOLD LETTERS on the second page that said “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” Deeper inside the scientists placed another ad with the same sized text that read, “Stop Counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.”

The people who were unlucky (a.k.a. the skeptics) usually missed both. (I submit that if this experiment was performed during the internet age they would have “commented’ on how the test was unfair, fixed, a scam, and somehow partial to the lucky group)

The scientists observed that skeptics are narrowly focused

They crave security, tend to be more anxious, instead of wading into a sea of random chance open to what may come, they remain Skeptic Fearless Focus imagefixated on controlling the situation, on seeking a specific goal.

In the case of the skeptic who commented on my article, he did exactly ZERO research because he was narrowly focused on finding the angle, finding the moment where we ask for money; which in his interpretation devalued the information. This goal of his, distracted him from all the possibly educational content.

If our skeptic did any research he would know that Daredevil Production, LLC is in the artist development business. We don’t charge for and put on conferences of any kind; it’s not our business model. If he read that article again, he would also pick up that Kelly and I were panelists not the hosts at the mentioned conference. Furthermore, he would have read that we made many relationships with some amazing new writers we met at this conference. In fact, we have already placed one such writer with an artist we are developing (they’re getting along famously so far)

So I guess that writer who paid to attend the conference is just lucky, right?

And our skeptic remains unlucky due to an overwhelming need to find an “angle” with every opportunity or piece of information. If it requires money it must be bad, right?

To be clear Mr. Skeptic, what you “See” as a music fan is:

  • An interview or two from your favorite artist.
  • You hear probably 1 live radio interview on whatever local station you listen to.
  • You see your favorite artist in 1 appearance on your favorite late night TV show.
  • It seems really grandiose and adoring for the artist whom you aspire to be like.

Mr. Skeptic, what you don’t see is:

  • Your favorite artist doing weeks of 12 hour days that consist of nothing but interviews for every print magazine, newspaper, blog spot, radio station, and podcast on the planet.
  • Your favorite artist does weeks of radio tours hitting every station in everybody’s home town.
  • Your favorite artist appears on ALL the late night TV shows, ALL the morning talk shows, and ALL the mid afternoon talk shows.

Oh, and Mr. Skeptic, there’s the final nail in your “integrity coffin”. Your favorite artist deserted-town-old-west-casketsuffers through weeks of interviews answering the same, monotonous, lame questions, over and over. They endure tons of travel to get to a new city to answer more monotonous, lame questions on a radio tour which could ultimately be described as, GASP, sales calls!

Yes, Mr. Skeptic, your favorite artist has the very thing you so diligently seek to dismiss every experience and every educational opportunity, the one thing you despise most on this Earth; an angle.

Your favorite artist wants to sell records and concert tickets.

Sorry.

The moral of the story is be a little skeptical because it’s healthy, but don’t be a skeptic.

The bad news is if you are bitter, sour, and too skeptical it’s your own damn fault.

The good news is you can change it if you want.

 

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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.

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