Sunday, April 29, 2012

Five Rules Of Modern Music Business

1.) Nothing is EVER the fans fault: If you’re not selling music, sell something else. If nobody comes to your shows, make sure more people know about them. If everyone in town knows you have a show, stop sucking.

2.) You can’t sell digital music: If you put a price on it, they’ll steal it. The person that buys it is a person that genuinely wants to contribute to your success, but is only a small percentage of your fan base. CD’s can be sold because they are a tangible object and people can relate an emotion or an experience to a CD. Same with vinyl, t-shirts, stickers, or the bumper on the band tour van. It’s worth something to people. A computer file isn’t.

3.) You are always presenting and representing: You should have an elevator pitch about your band or business memorized at all times, CD’s and stickers in your backpack or laptop bag, you should always listen to anyone who wants to speak to you, and you should always be kind, friendly, and responsive. You may not know who you’re talking to and you never know what people may become. You should also have a proper EPK and hard copy press kit, photos, music, past press features, and schedule in the arsenal.

4.) Your success is your responsibility: Don’t expect things to just happen. You know how all those big stars got those lucky breaks, when they just happened to be playing a show at a shitty bar where a top A&R rep was having a drink? That only happened because that band decided to take a gig at a shitty bar at six o’clock on a Wednesday night. The harder you work, the luckier you get. Your career is a path, and you don’t get to one checkpoint without reaching the one behind it first.

5.) Be Humble: Every band has a list of other bands that suck. Tear that list up right now. Every single musician out there has achieved SOMETHING or you wouldn’t know about them. Chances are, the bands you’re hating on have achieved something you haven’t. So talk less and observe more. Network. Think of Nickelback; as much as they suck, they’ve sold exponentially more records than you have. They didn’t buy all those albums themselves.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is Music Piracy Hurting Artists?

I sat on the computer today and watched a complete argument unfold on Facebook over music piracy. One person had the stance that people need to stop pirating and start buying, and that piracy is the reason music is so shitty. The other person took the stance that piracy has virtually no effect on the artists income.

Here’s my opinion based on both knowledge and assumption.

Piracy doesn’t do shit to anybody but the labels, and labels are the very thing that people complain about when they’re not bitching about piracy. If you took percentage of sales taken by labels, managers, PR, booking agents, and the other random job titles that can be done by a smaller team if not the artists themselves, and redistributed to the actual musicians and producers, they would be making money from albums. But never in the history of big business music has an artist relied on album sales to live. They have NEVER made any money from albums sold. They made money and continue to make money from live performances, merchandise, use licenses, books, reality shows, and other random ventures you can pursue once famous.

Granted, a label put the advertising out there for the fame in exchange for the money from albums sold. But artists can do the same publicity themselves if labels can’t meet demand.

Here’s my first rule of working in the music business: NOTHING is EVER the fans fault.
If they want to pirate music, find another way to make money.
If they aren’t coming to your shows, figure out a way to bring them.
If you have tried everything and still no fans, then realize that you suck and change yourself. If you really didn’t care about money and fame then you wouldn’t care that nobody wanted to support you.

A record label getting mad that people pirate music is irresponsible. It is a labels responsibility to use creativity and initiative to find a new product or a new way to market an old product that will create revenue. If a business starts bitching about its customers, it doesn’t deserve to be in business.

So there’s my opinion on that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Naming A Band (For those who like being fancy and official)


Okay so this is mainly a response to growingfearless about stage names/band names. She had asked, “If you want a “stage name” do you have to do it through SAG (Screen Actors Guild)?”

We quickly established that the SAG is a union for actors, and they have a rule that there can be no two actors with the same name so some people choose to or are forced to create a fake name to avoid duplicates. Her question, however, was about stage names for musical performing artists, so here is the process for that. Sorry for the delay.

So the first thing you need to know is that if you are making money as a band or performer, you are running a business. You are offering products and services (CD’s and concerts) to customers, purchasing material and making profits, etc. As a business, you need to be established as a business. A quick and easy way is to file as an LLC, but for more recognized national acts you may want to file as a corporation so the members are given shares in stock equivalent to the cut they agreed upon in the contracts. This may seem like something you never even considered doing as a musician, but that’s what a good manager is for. Don’t forget the lawyer.
Now that you have “My Sweet Band LLC/INC” established, you’ll want to trademark your name. You’ll actually be applying for a Service Mark, basically meaning that nobody else will be able to advertise and perform under your moniker.
Your name will also be under copyright with all of your music.

After all that, you should be safe and sound. Did you know Nirvana had to pay about $100,000 at their height because another band owned the name?

Hope this helps! Any more questions might be answered my the authority themselves:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Starting In Music: Dive In or Go To School?

There are more people trying to find jobs in the music industry now than ever before. Earning a living by working around your favorite bands is a pretty enticing plan. But to get there, many people are left stuck at the starting gate, thinking “Where do I even start?”
There is a lot of very specific information you have to know in order to work in the music business. Thinking you can find a well-paying job in music without learning is like assuming you can perform surgery with no prior knowledge.
The difference between those two is that to get your spot in an operating room, you go to college, go to medical school, get a job in a hospital, work your way through the phases, and ultimately become a surgeon. With the music business, it’s a little trickier. There is no set method on how to become successful. The first place that people will get stuck is, “Do I intern, or do I go to school?”
To be honest, the easiest way to get in is to just start working. This is one of those industries where the best way to learn is to jump in headfirst. Internships, assistant/office jobs, street teams, and errand runners are always a great option for getting your foot in the door. The key is to always be networking, always be learning, and always be working as hard as possible to stand out from the rest with your potential.
Other people may decide to go to a school that has a Music Business or Music Production program. These can be a very good option too IF you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Schools specializing in music related studies often end up being the one thing stopping you from getting a job. These schools know that there is a huge market for people trying to get into this industry and they will charge outrageous amounts in “tuition” for a from-the-book education in things such as marketing, studio production, music law, music entrepreneurship, etc.
The problem is that the school’s studio is not the same as the studio you want a job at, and the schools don’t train you in other people’s studios. The laws they teach are often outdated. Basically, you walk out of the school with a basic general knowledge of how things work in the industry, but you have no practical application of what you’ve learned. You have no track record. No resume.
The first thing that happens if you do get a job out of school is your employer will completely wipe everything you learned out of your head and teach you THEIR way of doing things. Believe it or not, there is a very good reason for this:
Every successful business in the music industry is successful because they do things in a way that nobody else does.
Everybody needs to have their own way of doing things. It’s what makes you stand out and gain attention. Schools teach you straight from the book, which is exactly what makes you disappear into the crowd of hopefuls. You need to have something unique to offer.
You also need to have a track record of successful projects. It doesn’t need to be impressive, but it needs to be there. People need to know that you have done this before and know what you’re doing.

10 Tips to Getting Ahead in the New Music Industry

Came across this on Tumblr and thought it was funny/relevant enough to share. If anyone is interested enough in this blog AND uses Tumblr, feel free to follow at

10 Tips to Getting Ahead in the New Music Industry
 If you want to earn money during your music career – get a day job.

2. If your songs are not connecting with people – dedicate all your free time to writing new ones.
3. If nobody is coming to your shows – do number 2then dedicate all your free time to practicing with your band.
4. If nobody is buying your MP3 Downloads - don’t bother giving them away because people still won’t download them, instead concentrate on numbers 2 and 3.
5. If you worry that you look fat and old in your promo photo – lose some weight and invest in photoshop.
6. If you can’t get the sound you want out of the amp you have – practice a shit ton more until it does sound good – then get a new amp.
7. If still no one is coming to your shows – maybe your drummer sucks.
8. If your band is not the first thing that comes up when you google your band name – change your fucking name.
9. If you already have your dream guitar and amp set up before your first show – sorry Rock and Roll is not for you. If you have to ask why – it’s definitely not for you.
10. If you think that anyone cares what your music means to you, they don’t – they only care what your music means to them.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Guerilla Marketing: Newspaper Add

Newspaper Add
 Not to be confused with a newspaper ad, which is short for advertisement. This is a newspaper add, which is an addition to an already great source of what people need to know about. You may be thinking, “Shouldn’t I just pay for an advertising space in the paper? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do?” My answer to that is “Absolutely.” Now that we got that out of the way, here’s what broke badasses who want their music to be heard will do.
Step One: Identify all the print media in your area that has anything to do with music, arts, etc. It may be a magazine or it may be the local newspaper that has an arts section. I don’t know your situation. But figure out which papers will have the readers that might actually care about you.
Step Two: Burn a ton of CD’s and print a bunch of stickers. If you don’t have CD’s, just stickers. If you don’t have stickers, just write your info on a ton of slips of paper.
Step Three: Find all the kiosks that hold the paper. If it’s free then I’m talking about the little housings outside the gas station where you grab it from. If you have to pay for it then I’m talking about the things where you put in your quarters to open the door. Step Four: As soon as the paper has been put in it’s kiosks and stands, go around and slip an Add-Pack in each paper. The idea is that when the reader opens it up, there will be a little bonus surprise awaiting them.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Death And Rebirth Of The Music Business

At one point in time, there were towns without doctors. A physician was highly sought after. Now we have multiple doctors with different specialties all within a few blocks from our homes. Pilots used to be limited to military airplanes, now they are needed for day-to-day life from commercial international flights to short tours over landmarks and a quick lift to skydive from. The reason these industries have grown so much is because many people recognized a demand and developed ways to meet it. When I hear that the music industry is failing, I get conflicted and flustered. It seems to me that it's not failing, it's prospering. The only thing that's failing is the assumption that 225,000,000 people are all going to go after one product. We don't assume that we can fit 1,000 on one plane, and we don't assume one doctor can handle 3,000 regular patients. I think what we're witnessing is the transformation of big corporations into small businesses. The ratio of music to listeners is much closer than it has ever been, and the spectrum of genre and taste is at a new level of eclectic. One record label with 150 major acts will not profit off of the mass market. But 150 labels with five acts will. Think about it. A transition into small business isn’t a failure, it’s a massive improvement. The only thing that could fail would be the major Big Three (Sony, Universal, and Warner) record labels, but that would only be a failure for them. As it is now, the major labels have taken all the power from any independent entity. Radio stations can’t play what the DJ’s want, retailers stick to the contracts they have with major distribution, and any musician that is halfway decent will either be bought into the majors or pushed down so as to not take potential market; i.e; “Fans.” We are finally at a point where the music industry might crumble. I say crumble only because what is will fall, and what SHOULD be will soon rise. Large venues will close and 10 smaller venues will open in their place, so on any given night dozens of acts can take a stage. Radio stations will no longer be supported by payola bribes and will have to make money through advertising, forcing them to attract listeners by desire rather than default. Independent labels will be able to turn modest profits off of a modest roster, meaning smaller labels won’t have to choose between making a living and being involved in the music they care about. The only thing music piracy did was regulate an industry. Be proud of it.