Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Finding Money in the Music Business

Most independent hip hop artists won’t get rich solely by selling their music. Those days are gone, never to return. Even the biggest names in the industry struggle to make platinum album sales these days. Why? Well, mainly it’s due to file sharing and more importantly, the fact that there is an enormous amount of music out there. So much so that artists now have to give away most of their music for free and pray that listeners will even make the effort to click the play button and listen.


Social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are filled with artists fighting for that attention. Way too often I just see update or get messages that only read: “New Track” and a link to their music. It’s hard enough to get a stranger to care enough to click on these links. It’s even harder to get them to investigate further to find out more about that artist. Let’s face it, anyone with a computer and a microphone can make an album nowadays…and they are.

Increasing the amount of links you send out won’t create the kind of valuable relationships that will eventually lead to a loyal fanbase. Too many people have been burned by clicking that play button, only to hear bad music. It’s important that you create a bond with others while you’re pushing your music. That’s just how it is right now. One of the best examples of this concept in action is how indie artist, Amanda Palmer, made $19,000 in 10 hours on twitter. Your ability to get a growing number of people to start paying attention to you, creates a value that you can profit from in a number of ways. The biggest of these opportunities being companies who’d pay you to advertise or promote their products. web site

So what should you be doing? You should be creating the kind of content that makes people want to pass it along to their friends. This is still the most valuable way to spread an idea or message. What does this mean? This means that you either create a blog or make videos. If you don’t do anything else, make a video journal series of your struggle to make it in the music business. That shit could be thoroughly entertaining. Stop doing the same ol shit of…”here’s me in the studio making a hot joint” …or “this is me flashing with my wad of cash”. Keep it real and true with your audience. People can easily notice when they’re being fed some bullshit.

The most important factor in all of this is that you can start expanding on your artistic presence without spending any money. Even hip hop artists on major labels are discovering the value in keeping their fan base tuned in to events that happen in their everyday lives. If you’re not doing it already, you should start. What do you have to lose? If it’s entertaining shit, even I’ll post it. The one thing that you can count on for sure, is that your experiences are uniquely yours and even something as simple as that separates you from all others

The Music Artist’s Survival Kit

Don’t miss another opportunity to share your music or network with a good contact because you didn’t have your music or info on you. Way too often, I’ve checked my wallet to exchange info with a contact only to say, “Sorry, I don’t have any more business cards.” You can avoid mishaps like these by always having a few things with you. Here is a short list of them.


1. Business Cards: In this day of great technological advancements, this old school way of passing along your info is still the quickest and most effective. It’s a pain in the ass for me to write down your website and for you to tell me that your email address has an underscore in it. Save me the time and just put it all on your business card. Plus, business cards are cheap to purchase. Vistaprint will make you some for free if you’ll just pay for the shipping.

2. Flash Drives: CDs are a hassle for some. Some DJs won’t even play them. So why not cover all bases and buy yourself a flash drive to store your music on? You can put every song you’ve every recorded on them if you want to; videos and pics too. Some stores are almost giving them away. Buy a flash drive and you’ll be helping the environment by cutting down on your unnecessary CD usage. Now won’t that make you feel good?

3. MP3 Players and Mobile Phones: There may come a time when someone may want to hear your music right then and there. Having your music on your phone or mp3 player will always come in handy in these situations. I always carry a connection to speakers cable with me too. This has been great for me on a number of occasions.

4. CDs : In spite of some say, I continue to see CDs play an important role in the careers of independent hip hop artists. Keep a physical copy of your music on you at all times. There isn’t a universal format that has replaced the CD yet. Especially when it comes to cheapness and ease of exchange.

5. Breath Mints: You never know who you’re gonna run into. Don’t have funky ass breath!

The 7 Music Marketing Commandments

1. Focus on building your audience.


2. Fans are key. An opening slot for the big name, a random appearance at a show for a different demographic, is close to a waste of time.

3. Don’t keep hawking your CD. Sell your music! Acts think if they deliver a CD, they’ve made a dent. No you haven’t, the gatekeepers in media just throw them away, they certainly don’t listen to them. How do you get someone to really check out your music? By making it readily available online!

4. Criticism is irrelevant, only sales figures count. It does not matter what the media says about your music, only the fans.

5. Reviews only matter if they’re in a place your fans read them. Jam band aficionados might check you out (online!) after reading about you in “Relix”, if you’re an indie act, Pitchfork means something, but the review in the paper…who is that for? That’s just a mash note from your publicist, justifying his fee, no music fan gets turned on to music by the newspaper. That’s like advertising drag racing in a sailing magazine, birth control in “Highlights”…huh? As for live concert reviews…they never send a fan to give his take, so why should the review matter? (And if you want to reach the aged audience that still reads the newspaper, you might as well advertise in “AARP”.)

6. Marketing is secondary to music. Old wavers would like to say it’s the reverse, point to Ke$ha and other flavors of the moment, saying they have the power to build stars. That’s an old media circle jerk. Fewer people are paying attention, fewer people are buying the music, almost no one wants to see these acts live and there’s no longevity. This is just the dying gasp of an old system. Yes, there will always be Justin Biebers, teen phenoms, but beneath a very thin veneer of ubiquitous stars there’s a vast wasteland. You’re better off building from the ground up, brick by brick, your goal is to get to the middle, to sustain a career.

7. Publicity makes you happy, makes you think you’re accomplishing something, but unless you reach the core audience, it’s worthless. Believe me, this “Fast Company” piece is not for Carolla’s audience, it’s for his advertisers, potential ones, at best. If you get off on seeing your name in print, if you want to do interviews, go for it. But the odds of dividends are frightening low. Because most people don’t care. And if they do, its not for long. Don’t forget, reality TV is about making fun of those featured. That’s what television is now. Credible acts stay off! Hell, who wants to go on Letterman, be pre-interviewed, tell a funny story from growing up and look like an idiot? It’s about him, not you

Music Push VS. Personality

Building a fan base takes more than just having good music. People can connect to a great song and not give a shit about the artist who made it. Listeners like to connect to an idea, an experience…a personality. It’s not essential that you use social networks like Twitter and Facebook, but if you’re going to use them, use them to magnify your ideas. Take a look at your Twitter and Facebook timeline. If you’re only pushing links to your music and not providing any useful information or engaging in any entertaining conversation, you’re just wasting time there.


You can find believers! Last week some dude with the charisma of a wet loaf of bread had thousands believing that the world was going to end over the weekend. And the others who didn’t believe it were talking about it. Shock value and controversy can be useful, but when it expires, people will become disinterested if there is a lack of substance. Take full advantage of the one thing you have that no one else in the world has; your individuality.

8 Things That Are Working For Hip Hop Artists

1. Social Networking

Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even Youtube, when used correctly, are proving to be the most effective ways to build your fan base and keep them updated. Make it a point to follow other successful artists to see how they are using these tools to their advantage.

2. Creating An Artist Concept
What do you represent? What are you about? The answers to these questions are key to finding a fan base. Whether it’s connecting with avid weed smokers or others who share your political philosophy, being consistent with your message helps attract fans to you because you become a spokesman for their lifestyle. Trying to be everything to everybody never works. And if you haven’t already noticed by now, lyrical skill and banging beats are not a sure winning formula for success. We now live in an era where J.Cole and Lil B can coexist and be successful in hip hop. Just make sure you’re not being boring.

3. Video
Audio is good, visual is better. It stimulates an extra sense. This is a good thing when done well. Fans are more likely to pass around something visually entertaining than something that’s just audio. You don’t need a big budget to create something visually clever and entertaining to accompany your music.

4. Mixtapes
Free mixtapes and EPs are still proving to be effective for artist. These are done best, in my opinion, when the performances are mostly over original beats. Keep in mind that your beats are an important part of establishing your signature sound as well.

5. Frequent Releases
Release music and release it often! People have a short attention span and short-term memory. Keep them engaged. Don’t let them forget about you.

6. Physical Products
Tangible products are still cool. True fans still want to have something physical in their possession. CDs still sell. I’d personally like to see usb flash drives fully replace the CD format. It’s a great way give your fans extra media such as videos, pics, and higher quality files of your music. There are a lot of cool ways you can distribute them too. There are customizable usb wristbands and other cool things you can do with them. Hip hop has been the setting the trends for a long time and I believe that if our community started to collectively support a different and better format for the music, that it would no doubt become the standard for the industry as a whole.

7. Collaborations
We’re now starting to see artists from different sides of track doing more collabs these days. Why? Because they’ve figured out that it’s more productive than beefing and hatin’. You may think that other artist is garbage, but he could have and audience that’s not familiar with your music and one that would most likely become fans of yours if you two did a joint together. Beefs don’t have the shelf life they used to. Hip hop is evolving and there’s more benefit in making allies instead of enemies

8. Live Shows
I always tell artist. When you hit the stage, make sure the audience remembers you afterwards. I don’t care what you do, but leave an impression. Get your performance tight. Most of the time, this is your best opportunity to sell your music and merch. This is the time to make that audience become a believer. Do your homework. Go to Youtube and search for the live shows of other artists. Study how they put it together and work the crowd. Then make the proper adjustments and tweaks to your own show..

MUSIC MADE WITH A MEANING

We often hear stories about how music has been a vehicle for social change and political expression,

of how it rallied generations of young people and inspired causes and movements that revolutionized
society. From politically controversial folk songs of the fifties and early sixties to the free living music of
the Hippies and the loud, angry sounds of rock and roll that captivated young people across the world.
Listening to music today, you wonder whether music has the same power that it used to have.
There is so much more music being put out today because alternative distribution channels and digital
technology have enabled both established and struggling musicians to get their songs out there, to
people all over the world. With so much more quantity, then comes the issue of quality. Are musicians
still making music that will last for generations? Will today’s music resonate with future generations in
the same way that the sounds of the Beatles, Tupac and Elvis continue to win over young fans? This is
definitely something that any musician or even a fan of music has thought about at one time or another.
Looking at popular music today, the kind of music that captures people’s attention and gets them
talking, it seems that it is less of a form of expression and more of a platform for promoting causes.
For instance, fewer commercially successful artists are using their music to explore social and political
issues. Rather, they tend to use their fame and celebrity status to support certain causes, Diddy for
example lent his weight to the Rock the Vote campaign which encouraged young people to vote in the
election. Pop starlet Jessica Simpson advocates support for Operation Smile while Mary J. Blige has lent
her name to certain charity fashion events. The music itself is less of a driving force for change in the
current climate where fame rules supreme.

This of course does not mean that music with a message is not being made; there are passionate artists
out there who continue to carry the torch of politically awareness and social change. From rock legends
Metallica to hip hop innovators like Lupe Fiasco; there are artists out there that still strive to use music
as a means of expression. They may not make the kind of music that tops charts or gets frequent airplay
on the radio but, they are out there.

In a way the tables have turned, singers with a message used to seek out there audience, today with
so much music is readily available, it is much harder for a singer with a message to find a mainstream
following. The onus is now on us as an audience to be more discerning when it comes to what we listen
to. It is our right and responsibility to seek out music with a message and to support those artists who
strive to keep this spirit alive. It isn’t enough to sit back and listen to what the record companies are
pushing on the airwaves and on TV. Today’s audience needs to realize that good music is out there,
waiting to be uncovered and thanks to the internet; it is just a click away.

In The Era Of Business, Not Rap

Somewhere in the course of the last decade, rap music became an industry in and of itself. It became this huge, record churning, hit producing machine that puts out not just mere rappers but business men. Heck, moguls even! Today’s successful rappers aren’t just successful artists, they are successful businessmen and the business of hip hop works on the same mechanisms as any other business.
For starters it’s all about the marketing. Success in this industry isn’t just about making good music, more often than not; it’s about really average music with a killer marketing plan. From album leaks to generating some pre launch buzz to special appearances at events to raise the profile and collaborations with other chart toppers; the businessmen and women of hip hop know how to get it done when it comes to plugging and pushing an album.

In this business, success is also inexplicably linked to fame and staying in the spotlight. So, when an album release is around the corner you’ll often hear stories about a breakup, shocking revelations to the tabloids or even a down and out run in with the law, which always grabs the headlines. Many people don’t realise that it’s simply all part and parcel of selling a product, in this case, their music.

The hip hop industry also operates like a business in that it has established a stronghold in a variety of different areas. No successful hip hop artist today just sells music; chances are they’ve got their fingers in a number of pies from fashion to perfumes and more. Hip hop videos sell a certain lifestyle to the fans, one of extravagance, designer clothes and the fanciest everything. The industry then takes it one step further by marketing the products featured in the videos to the audience, just like product placements on television shows.

Success thus, is less dependent on lyrics, a killer beat and street credibility. It’s more about creating a brand name, marketing yourself and making the most out of your name. It seems that in the world of hip hop, the business aspect often outweighs the creative. Successful rappers, the likes of Diddy, Fifty Cent and Lil’ Wayne all have diverse business structures sustained by their brand name, with clothing and jewellery lines, acting careers and more. The rappers that lend their focus solely to the music don’t tend to be as commercially successful, MF Doom and Lupe Fiasco come to mind here.

So in the battle of the smart rapper versus the smart business man, it seems that the businessman is winning by all accounts. Is he also creating better music or just music to supplement his income and empire? Well I suppose that is the real issue facing hip hop today.

There is nothing wrong with making it big on different fronts, there is nothing wrong with empire building and styling oneself as a mogul but, there is something wrong when all of this comes at the expense of the music. So can businessman and rapper co-exist? That my friends, that, is the question

Friday, May 20, 2011

Music Summit Dos and Don’ts

Music Summit Dos and Don’ts

DO's

1. Before leaving the house - Make sure you have all your Marketing and Necessary promotional material ready to go. ( I would like to give a few things I reccomend - Plenty of business cards with up to date information, including: phone numbers for contact, emails, social networks etc., Your going to need a note pad and a few pens or pencils, post-its for taking notes, numbers and information. (I pre-print sheets with spots for all the info I am trying to collect. OK CD's - I suggest only bringing enough CDs to give to DJ's, Media, A&R's etc. not the other "Artist", They are only gonna take them because you hand them to them. Most "99%" will never listen, so don't waste your product. Make sure the CD has a "Single" and maybe a B-Side track. Not a whole mixtape. Lets face it, Who has time to listen to a whole mixtape from every artist in attendance with a mixtape. Try avoiding anything with another DJ talking or screaming on it, Those are meant for fans, Not DJ's, and other Industry Players. ) *If you have a budget - think outside the box with your marketing tools, examples I have seen at other Music Summits through out the years: Mouse Pads, T-Shirts, Business Card Holders, Stickers for lap-tops, etc, etc... You get the picture.

I suggest Bring a camcorder or voice recorder, so that when you get back home and to work, you can sit down and really listen and read into what the panelist and people are really saying. Keep watching to refresh your mind, and create a game and business plan for your project.


2. Get a schedule -  Make your plans before arriving. Who do you want to meet?
Set up appointments well in advance of the Summit. Know what you are coming to accomplish.
 
3. If you’re in a Group, spread out and cover more ground. Don’t stick together for safety’s sake. Be brave. If each member goes  a different way, you’ve greatly increased your odds at meeting the right person at the right time. Chances are you’ll make acquaintance with representatives from music industry companies that will come in handy at some later date. Don’t just hang out with friends: Not saying to be anti-social—just make sure that you’re spending time meeting new people. Perhaps you can ask friends to introduce you to other people in their network. How many times have you seen 6 people from the same company hang out together—doing everything together? Perhaps they’re too shy to reach out. Sit at different tables, attend different sessions—then get back together at night to compare notes.


4. Get sleep and eat healthy. Don’t stumble into the A&R of your favorite label or DJ and come across as a malnourished drunkard.

5. Network, Network, Network - A Summit is a priceless opportunity to make yourself known and to get to know others. You've already set some goals that will get you started. Now be alert to other opportunities. Never underestimate the value of connecting with the "lesser known" participants — it wasn't too many years ago that the keynote speaker was a "lesser known". Remember to listen to what others have to say, but you also have to offer something to the conversation if you want others to remember you. Don't make any commitments that you cannot keep, even though it is easy to get caught up in the high energy of the Summit. We all know that what goes around comes around. So work hard at being helpful to others. Perhaps you can offer a kind word or a lead that might be useful.

Make a FEW strong connections: Don’t be the networking idiot that desperately passes their cards around to as many people as possible—only to find them go in the garbage when nobody is looking. At each conference, try to make one or two strong connections with folks who you see as valuable long-term business partners. It’s okay to meet a lot of people, but if you can focus on a couple key folks—maybe even just ONE good connection, that will make your time worth it. That’s also a sign of respect.

Follow up that same day: That’s the most important tip, yet so few people actually do it. You’re tired at the end of the day, you’ve got emails to respond to, you’ve got to get up early the next morning, yadda, yadda, yadda—the excuses go on and on. Don’t pretend that you’ll get around to it tomorrow. You’ll be even busier the next day, since a whole bunch of new things and follow-up items will now be in your list. Do it that night while things are still fresh in your head.



6. Learn From Every Experience - You will learn much from attending a Summit. There will be wonderful speakers with much to share. You will learn a great deal as you network with colleagues. And there will be some mistakes you make that will also teach you important lessons. Learn from every single experience that you have. Write down the lessons and new information so that you can use what you've learned in the future.

7.  Dress Efficiently - Hotels and conference centers are notorious for having great variations in temperature from room to room. So dress in layers that can be removed or added depending on the temperature. Wear clothes and shoes (low heels for women) that are comfortable. You will probably be spending more time on your feet and doing more walking than you usually do at home. Also be sure to wear clothes that have pockets. Designate which pocket will be used to hold your own business cards and which one will be used to receive cards from others — you don't want to hand a prospect someone else's business card.


 
Don'ts
 
1. Don’t party too much. Music Summits are a BUSINESS opportunity for you or your brand or label. By all means, have fun. But you won’t be as effective as possible if you’re going on a binge.
 
2. Don’t get caught without a CD, download card, flier, or business card.


3. Don’t sell yourself short with false humility. When someone asks you who you are, what you sound like, where you’re playing, and why you’re at the Simmit, be BOLD! Take no prisoners. Be proud of your music and the buzz will follow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Digital Music Aggregator List

AWAL - (Sheffield/London, UK) – Take 15% cut but doesn’t seem to be a sign up fee. No upload area, good old fashioned mail in signed agreement and CD for encoding. Handling Arctic Monkeys, Sparks, Klaxons and Moby and 100s more. Aimed more at labels as apposed to individual artists. Promotion and licensing services too. Co-owned by ex-Comsat Angel Kevin Bacon (no not that one!). No store listing but iTunes seems to be the biggest focus.


IRIS – (San Fransisco, USA) – Take a 15% cut of sales. Impressively comprehensive list of retailers and mobile music outlets worldwide. Again, another outlet aimed more at label catalogues than DIY artists. Submissions for consideration are initially via an online form. In house marketing arm too.

CD Baby – (Portland, Oregon, USA)- $35 one off sign up fee and take a 9% cut of download revenue. Digital distribution sticks to the ‘big 5′ retailers and some of the ‘second tier’ stores. Can get your CDs into US stores via one stop distributor Super D. Now owned by New Jersey based CD manufacturer Discmakers. @cdbaby

101 Distribution – (Phoenix, Arizona, USA) – Not sure what warrants the high costs here. But there’s a massive $599 sign up fee, then $49.95 a month. 100% payout of all sales. You’re gonna need it with those kind of upfronts! You can Twitter questions why, here: @101Distribution

Nimbit – (Framingham, MA, USA) -$15 per album sign-up fee and they take a 20% cut for getting you on iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and CDFreedom . They do the encoding so you mail in your CD and artwork. They have a number of extra services like CD duplication, merchandising, online storefronts, widgets and download cards. @nimbit

IODA – (San Fransisco, USA) – One of the longest established digital music aggregators with an impressive list of distribution partners and services. Again, one of those services that is aimed at labels vs individuals.  @iodapromonet

Catapult - (Frisco, Texas, USA) – $25 set-up fee (plus $20 for a barcode) which includes placement on the usual big five stores plus Verizon’s VCast, Tesco Digital and HMV Digital (UK), Puretracks (Canada), Zune and FYE. Full list here. Artist keeps 91% of sales which is inline with CD Baby and means you can expect something like 56c from a 99c download. Like most USA based services (excluding IODA) there’s a lack of niche outlets, with the majority being USA and Canadian mainstream retailers.

ReverbNation – (Durham, NC/New York, USA) - RN looks like it was designed for the MySpace generation with its ADD inspired layout! Nevertheless dig around and there’s a bunch of great services. Digital distribution will cost artists a one off $34.95 sign-up fee and get you on iTunes worldwide, and the rest of the ‘big 5′. 100% of sales goes to the artist. Where RN possibly beats out similar priced outlets like CDBaby and Tunecore is with the additional viral marketing tools. There’s a bunch of free promo tools, widgets, email lists, and a Sonicbids feature beating EPK . @ReverbNation

SongCast – (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA) – Another relatively new name (to me at least). Songcast offer the basic ‘big 5 ‘ distribution deal for $19.99 signup and $5.99 a month. You keep 100% of sales but with the monthly fee that works out at $91.96 for the first year. Something like triple the fees of other ‘entry level’* distributors like Tunecore, ReverbNation and CDBaby. Oh, they throw in a free barcode. Difficult to see why you’d go here and pay more to get on the same major download platforms though.

KJER – (Brabrand, Denmark) – KJER use the services of IODA to get artists and labels on one of the most comprehensive retail store lists mentioned here (presumably the same list as IODA itself). Their client list seems to be mainly European independent labels though their services extend to clients worldwide and their website invites individual artists to submit material for distribution. Further details on their blog and on the main website FAQ. The lack of information on their website doesn’t fill you with confidence.

Ditto Music -(Birmingham, UK) – Ditto have a massive retail partner list including the usual big 5, all the major dance music stores, mobile music outlets and white label branded stores too. The service seems to be geared towards artists aiming to crack the UK download charts and Ditto claim to have ushered seven unsigned artists into the UK top 40 already. There’s a sliding scale of sign up fees depending on the amount of stores you want to be on, from the basic 25 UK Pounds ($36) package which includes iTunes and Amazon UK but not eMusic, Napster or Rhapsody bizarrely. A total of 70 UK pounds ($103 approx) gets you just about everywhere in Europe, including those ‘illusive’ dance retailers Beatport, Trackitdown, DJDownload, Stompy, XpressBeats and Juno. Artists keep 100% of revenue. There’s an additional 55 UK pounds service to register your release with the chart authorities Catco/PPL. @Dittomusic , MySpace.

RouteNote – (Redruth, UK) – Routenote are another UK based distribution service (and a new service, less than a year old) that’ll get your music on iTunes, Amazon eMusic, Snocap, iMeem and LastFM, though no Rhapsody or Napster. Nothing different here really, though there’s no sign up fee and artist share is 90% of revenue. @routenote

Symphonic Distribution -(Tampa, Florida, USA) Symphonic is aimed squarely at getting dance music artists across the variety of niche electronica and digital dance music retailers worldwide (and as such is of great interest to me!). They service just about all the dance specialists, including Beatport, Juno Download and TrackitDown . They will also get you on iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic and Amazon with their SymDirect offshoot which seems to be their ‘mainstream outlet’. As far as I can gather. 100% of sales royalties go to the artist and an album signup fee would be $29.99. Promising, I really like the look of these guys. MySpace.

Musicadium – (Brisbane, Australia/Tokyo, Japan)- Australian based digital distribution setup that lets you keep 100% of sales in return for a sign-up fee of $39Aus per album, (about $28US). They seem to be limited to iTunes, eMusic and Amazon MP3 right now though more retailers are promised. Blog. @musicadium

Tunecore – (Brooklyn,New York,USA) – I like Tunecore a lot. I use them, I trust their service and they’re fair to the artist. They’re pretty transparent too with an informative blog, free PDF downloads and multiple Twitter accounts. They service the ubiquitous ‘big 5′ stores as well as smaller retailers and outlets like Lala, Shockhound and Amie St. There’s a $19.98 sign-up charge which is yearly and artists keep all the sales $$$. More FAQs here. I think the common consensus into what would make Tunecore better than it is, is more stores. Recommended for the mainstream retail distribution. @tunecoregary @TuneCore @viva

Feiyr.com – (Traunstein, Germany) – German based digital distributor that is an offshoot of major vinyl distributor Dance All Day. Feiyr supply a massive selection of dance retailers across Europe and also the ‘big 5′ retailers worldwide. Recomended for their wide and specialist coverage. Sign up fee is around 10 Euros and the artist share seems to be variable. Not the best website in the world.

The Orchard – (New York, USA/London, UK) – Another company (like IODA) that seem to have been around forever. Offer a comprehensive list of download stores worldwide and other services like sync licensing, marketing and video distribution. Again, like all the ‘higher end’ distribution services there’s an application process here. Not aimed at artists with one off releases.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

10 Reasons a DJ Didnt listen to your music.

95% of the music a DJ receives is deleted without ever being listened to. Why? Outside of the fact that a DJ gets 100's of records sent to them each week via Email, Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Its just impossible to listen to every song  received and still find time to work. In an effort to increase the amount of material that a DJ listens to we have outlined

“10 Reasons a DJ didn’t listen to your music” in hopes that you will shape up


The List:

1.Twitter >> The first tweet you sent the DJ had a link to your music in it… Try starting out with a “Hello!”

2.You sent a link to your mixtape or album… We recommend sending a single.

3.You just sent 200 other people the exact same message… Make your message personal, And if its on twitter, all those tweets show up on your profile. That will stop people from following you because you look like a spammer and cause followers to unsubscribe because you’re flooding their time-line.

4.You emailed The DJ a CDA File… Learn to rip/import a CD. You can’t just drag the songs off the disc into an email. Label your tracks correctly - Artist name - Track Title. (Not Track 03)

5.You emailed the DJ a WMA file… Which means they have to download them first instead of just being able to preview them in thier browser.

6. You sent the DJ a link where they had to go through different screens of ads and wait before they could download it… Try using Box.net or something similar, so you can also track your plays and downloads. Recipients can immediately preview the music and still have an option to download it.

7.The DJ's have no reason to listen to your music… You sent them your music but you really didn’t give them any reason to check it. Why do you want them to listen to your music? Have a personal message and tell them what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish with there help.

8. Learn to email properly. Don't just CC’ed your email list to like 500 other people… Thats the reason DJ's boxes are so flooded now. And DJ's dont personally like or  appreciate thier email being circulated for any and everybody to have. Setup a Fanbridge account or at least start using the BCC field instead so you aren’t exposing everyone’s email address.

9.Understand DJ's are busy… Some may have every intention on listening to your music but as you know sometimes the day can just get a way from you. By the time has had the free time they forgot all about the link you sent them. This can be easily avoided if you focus on building a relationship instead of sending out songs.

10.You’re more concerned with getting heard than being listened to… You’ve send plenty of songs, emails, videos, etc but have never taken time to follow up to see if it's been listened to or what the DJ might have thought about the record. You’re more concerned with throwing punches than landing them.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is it your network or networth? without both you are nothing!

As I wake up today and look back at when I first jumped head first in the business, I always grew up painting a different picture of the music business in my head. I grew up listening to the radio and thought those were what the industry named as the best or they wouldn’t be on the radio. But as I learn more and more everyday, it’s about your network and networth. Who you know and how much money you have. I sat around yesterday after talking to a radio promoter, he said there is a fee to promote your record to get it on the radio, ok thats a part of the business I didn’t understand. He is the back door to the stations, the man who can possibly place you on top with money. Or as known as "payola" which is against the "law" but it’s like a secret society of the music business. Let me give you a break down so you understand this the way I see it, and see if you agree. My artist has a "Hit Record" well so does Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, the only difference is your network and networth. Do you know why "the majors" bring a record straight out of the studio and go right on the radio, before it ever hits the streets? Because they have the money to pay certain people in their network which are the key players independents are missing to make it happen to force the record down the consumers throat. The bottom line is – if you want to be sucessful, surround yourself with sucessful people, that’s your network. So that’s why they call it the "music business".




So lets go there for a second - a business is set up to make money or it wouldn’t be a business for long. So a radio station wouldn’t be a radio station if it wasn’t making money. Now, do you think a radio station has 20-60 full time employees on the weekly payroll, 10 wrapped vehicles, marketing money that’s ridiculous, street teams who drive around to events and promote their station and artist, electric for the building, equipment that has to stay up to date, the building lease itself is more a month than we as independents could probally afford. And where does all the money come from? Us, the person wanting to be on the radio. The majors who have the back door connect to go straight from the studio to the station with their single. I’m gonna call it "marketing dollars". They pay too believe it or not, they may trade a show or service or a lesser price but they pay, wow, that’s crazy to me! It’s hard to accept that’s the business. I just figured it out, we are all watching the same game, most of us are sitting in the bleachers in the hot ass sun, when we need to find out how to get in the skybox with free drinks and AC. How do we do that? We either have to have money for our own skybox, or know someone who has one and can invite you up there to mingle. Where you may find your networth while building your network, is this making any sense or am I just ramblin out my brain. We have the artist, microphone, the pro-tools, the computer, but we don’t have the plug for the monitor, so we can't move forward. Just like the streets, if you hang around nickle and dime people, you become a nickle and dime person. But if you know the plug you move from nickle , dime to halfs and bricks, get it? I’m going down to the goodwill and get me a suit, and joining the yacht club. We have all the links to the puzzle except the plug. so the bottom line is without a network with networth we have nothing.

Speaking the truth,
Rick "DirtyBoi" Hayes

Ever Dream Of Meeting 1-on1 with a A&R Rep. From A Major Label?

Do you ever sit around and think to yourself, I wish I had the chance to sit down with a Major label A&R? Well I think we all have at one point or another in our career. We seem to think we have the ultimate game plan, We all think we know marketing and promotions. The truth of the matter is we don't know as much as we all want to think we really know. We feel like we wake up daily and go hard. (Well some of us) We hear songs on the radio that we feel is not as good as ours. We think we have the right goals to move our career, but most of the artist I meet daily have no clue to how, or to who. We feel like we are giving it our all, but end up falling short. How many days are we going to end up in the same boat we were in yesterday. still chasing that dream... Many rappers want to become artist and many rappers do not even have what it takes to make it. Its just the facts. I have seen and met allot of talented rappers in this industry who end up on the wrong path and lose it all, simply because they didn't take the time to learn the business. I have seen rappers come and go. I have seen rappers getting taking advantage of by all these snakes in the industry selling dreams with their hands out praying on "newbies". I can honestly say some days I wish I would have never choose this career. Every time I feel like I just met another fake person or seen a behind the scene sneak peek of the truth of the business. It makes me angry. But as a good friend tells me daily "welcome to the game homie". I may not keep it all the way 100, but I can say I have never in my life stold, been sneaky, or took any money from anyone in the business except maybe a few dollars for hours and hours worth of work. so actually I lost and gave a gift to help another. Do not be the person that everybody says is bad business, our name is all we have in this world besides faith and a handful of friends. Do not sit around 10 years from now and talk about what you could have been. Do not sit around waiting on a a big deal, become one. I live my life through each artist I meet, because they are chasing the dream I never got to chase. I wish I knew the business like I do today. I wish I had the chance to get up, get out and learn something. I wish I had the chance to Meet 1-on-1 with a major label A&R and show them, hey I'm here, I'm grinding, I'm marketable, I'm business smart, I have and know how too grow and maintain a fan base, I know how to sell myself and my music and merchandise, I know how to make us both money! well you have your chance to do that. and I hope you learn it early and not become a "what could of been". Or at least have it in your heart to help the next man instead of looking down on them. Competition there is none. I will live, breath and sh#t hip hop until the day I die.

Keep Ya Head Up,
Rick "Dirtyboi" Hayes

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to make money in the music industry

Making money in music has always been hard for some, others make enough to raise families. It really comes down to your commitment to your craft, career choices and your creative drive. Opportunities abound in many American cities. If you don't see them create them! Stop into that hotel that doesn't have entertainment but has a great space for it. The coffee shop or bookstore that has a place to play and a large glass window in front. Talk to local government about events in the community, new and newly conceived by you.


If you want to be a "STAR" and that's what you focus on, the craft can fall behind. The musician who takes every opportunity, even if it's playing on street corners in his or her free time will make a living. If you play an accompanying instrument and sing, you can make opportunity by contacting local businesses and asking "do you need jingles or have you thought about them in your advertising. Treat music as if you are a business professional, no matter what genre you are into. Use your creative mind to find or create every opportunity you can put or mold yourself into. Organize, names, contacts, venues! Log every Idea.

In the end, making money in music is about your willingness to be flexible. Can conduct a choir? Can you play piano for one or more churches in need of music? You don't have to be affiliated with the church in many instances and some pay very handsomely! If you are capable of giving lessons, why not. It only adds to your income and experience.

Even if you are after the big score of a recording contracts. sold out concerts and more, how will you pay for demos and promotional materials? What contacts are you really making? So many musicians before you have given up because their bar band or garage band dreams didn't pan out after years! If you make your destiny by putting your ability as a musician first, your current or building knowledge of music as a business second, making money in music will no longer be a problem. It's not that you will have all you want and nothing is ever easy, nor does it come without hard work. But earning money in music requires that you treat it as a business, be a professional and create you own opportunities. Don't turn one opportunity down because "It's not your thing", or you don't play that stuff. You call yourself a musician? Familiarize yourself with every style of music you can. Give them all a chance. It can only enhance your promising career

How to make money in the music industry

Every band and solo artist wants to make the big time, but it is often difficult. You are competing against major record labels with major resources, indie record labels that also have the connections and funds for their artists, and thousands of others trying to make a name for themselves.


There are several companies that offer to make the connection' for you if you pay them. This works sometimes, but sometimes it doesn't, and you can end up throwing good money at bad leads. The best way to make money (even though you probably won't make the big time without PERFECT songs and HEAVY touring schedules sorry to break it to you) is through licensing your music. In order to do this, your music needs to be broadcast quality (good enough to hear in the background of radio and tv commercials, playing in the background of a tv show, etc.)

Start to build a catalogue, and start to submit your music to these online companies. All of these are non-exclusive, meaning you don't sell the rights to your song only to them, but you are able to shop them to others, even use all of these to your benefit! I am just doing a quick write-up on each to help direct musicians, you can find out more from their web pages.

How to make money in the music industry

If you're getting into music to make money, get out! You're wasting time and energy that you could be investing in something with far better potential for return. Besides, music isn't an industry or a business. The only thing that makes it a business is the fact that there is money involved. You won't find anyone, however, who'll give you any of that money unless you're making some of your own. The music "business" is the business of selling your music to customers for a profit. This is extremely difficult to do, and especially difficult if you have a major record label backing you.

THE MONEY-GO-ROUND

note: This is how it worked for years. Now, it is becoming less and less true.


Every singer and band is an entrepreneur. Before they make any big money they have to take a ride on the money-go-round of the music industry.

If you play in a band and your album has just gone platinum, which means it has sold over one million copies, you are in rare company. Less than one percent of the albums released each year reach that mark and only ten percent sell over 100,000 copies.

How to make money in the music industry

If you want to get a record deal, get people to your shows, or sell music like crazy, the answer isn't some kind of "magic pill" website that you post your music on, blindly sending out a bunch of demos, or anything to do with having good music...although good music certainly helps - the answer is to develop a "mindset" that naturally attracts people to what you're doing as well as an understanding of how the music business game is played.


As you develop as a person, your music career will develop with you. Sounds crazy, but it's true...and I've seen it time and time again, with thousands of acts that I've worked with, from garage bands, to the guys selling out arenas. Check out these ten common music business mistakes:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Music Distribution Deals: Know-the-facts-before-signing

With the escalating progression of music technology in the last decade, mainland CD stores are continuing to decline in popularity, as the trendy demand for digital music downloads continues to crush them further into the archives of history. Claiming more than half of the globes music buying audiences, Digital Music Distribution is the predominant method of music marketing the world provides us now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Network in the Music Industry: Successful Business Networking Tips, Basics & Career Advice

What is networking about? As the saying goes, "It is not what you know or do, it is who you know." While technology is a reliable tool for artists to spread the word about their music, the most effective medium to get music publicized, heard, distributed or artist booked is through people. DIY (do it yourself) musicians can become successful, but the odds are stacked up against them because being an expert in everything is literally impossible. Writing great songs is a challenging task as it is. Focus on your strengths and delegate everything else to others whose strengths are your weaknesses.


The objective for artists looking to become successful is to delegate tasks to individuals who are experts in those fields. Finding who these people are can be accomplished through networking. You can start with family, friends and then reach out beyond that. This will ensure that you increase your odds for being at the right place and the right time. Sitting at home doing nothing will not get anyone anywhere, however great of an artist one is.

As your network grows, problems become easier to tackle because you can identify people that can effectively solve with those issues. Before you network, it is recommended that you do your homework and figure out the areas where you have weaknesses in and then finding the appropriate network and resources that can help you turn those weaknesses into strengths. It is critical that the networking relationship is a reciprocal one and the individuals you are networking with are appreciated and respected. Successful networking is linking together people who can help each other out through trust and relationship building.

Things to keep in mind:

Social Media: A Lesson in Self-Defense for Musicians

Social media has become a massive part of our culture. In fact, it has changed our culture. It's changed the way we do business, how we talk to each other and how we entertain ourselves. It's also changed how music fans experience music and how they experience the artists behind the music. So if you are an artist promoting your music on the Internet and you're not already plugged into a social media outlet or two, it's time to jump in. If you're not connected, you are quickly becoming disconnected with what's going on around you, socially speaking.
Your Fans Expect You to be Part of Their World

The explosive popularity of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter demand that you, as an artist, become more immediately accessible to your fans. It's not enough to have a web site or even a MySpace page anymore. Your fans want to know you, they want to follow you and they want to interact with you. They want to chat with you personally, comment on your music and see what you're doing right now. Your fans expect you to be part of their daily "friend-checking" routine. Your life is interesting to them. Your life is entertainment to them. Your life is a reality show and you didn't even know it! And if you ask me, it's all getting just a bit creepy.

16 Timeless Music Business Self-Promotion Tips

The following tips are essential, life-long suggestions, for any and all musicians to remember as they establish and/or maintain their music careers.


1. Stop sending unsolicited demo recordings to record labels, and instead concentrate on building your own music name and reputation by creating longterm relationships with your growing fanbase. They are your ticket to success.

2. Take the time to learn what the professionals in the music business do for a living. What are their job titles, who do they report to, and what do they do everyday when they go to work? The contacts you make in the music industry can make or break your career because your potential success is directly linked to any possible growing success of the industry people who are climbing their own ladders to success. The music business is built on the "buddy system." Everyone is attached to everyone else in this industry. As you go, so go your business contacts.

5 Tips For a Successful Career in Music Management

Of all the various music business careers, music management (or artist, band, talent, personal management) provides the most hands-on interaction with musicians. Managers are generally the most influential people in the artists' careers, and help to craft the master game plan that everyone (not just the artists) use as a guide or road map. If you are interested in the field of music / artist management, following are 5 tips that you might find useful.


1. First and most importantly, make sure you are knowledgeable about the inner workings of the music business and are passionate about music and musicians. Being unfamiliar with how things work will not only leave you with your hands tied, but could also cause you to create massive amounts of damage to the careers of the artists under your counsel. Having a passion for music will enable you to stay inspired and energized while conducting your management duties.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music Business Dictionary (Words that begin with the letter A)

The following collection of terms is the most complete music business and recording industry dictionary on the World Wide Web. Remember, understanding entertainment industry terminology is absolutely crucial to your success in the business. After reading this glossary, you will hopefully have a more thorough and complete understanding of the music business.

A Side. The A Side is the single chosen by the record company for radio play. It is expected to be "the hit." The B Side is usually an album cut that is not expected to have significant radio play.


Acetate. The material in vinyl mastering used to produce a "master" acetate record from which all duplicates are molded from.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What is a Manager?

In the music industry when you hear the words "manager" or "management," you usually think of artist management. Artist management is one of the more important aspects of the music business.


In short, to manage means to control. So, the manager(s) of an artist hopefully have control of the situations which are in their domain of responsibility. Being in control means being able to move forward in a coordinated fashion while attending to all the details of the artist's career.

Artist managers come in a variety of "packages." There can be one all encompassing manager, a management team of individual specialized managers, a management firm, or various combinations of these depending on the needs and resources of any particular artist.

How to Register a Music Copyright

Copyrights are huge in the music industry.  Everywhere you turn when dealing with music you will come across different copyright laws and requirements.  That said, it is extremely important for you to know and understand what is all involved in copyrights.  You will also need to know how to obtain one to protect the music that you and your band create.  This is relatively simply and most of the forms can be found at the US Copyright Office website, http://www.copyright.gov/.

Signing Advances

Advances


Advances will certainly be talked about in a artist meetings and contracts as well. These used to be more of a signing bonus for a artist. Basically the record company would simply write them a check as sort of a “thank you” for choosing their company and also an incentive to join them. The problem with this was, many artist would then go way over budget when recording their songs and albums. Of course record companies were upset about this, so they developed a new system of doing things. Now, they will hand the artist a check for recording, sort of a budget, but will have their bonus added to it. That way if the artist went over budget, it cut into their earnings rather than the companies. It also ended up being a huge perk for the artist to keep things under control and efficient in the recording studio.