Monthly Archives: September 2014

No Exact Way

During this entire month, it’s been my desire to share informational resources that provide some education, networking opps and a few other pointers to point EntreMusicians in the right direction. I hope the few bits I’ve offered have been helpful to you, knowing that there are other entire planets of material I never mentioned.

As I began to write this morning, I must admit I became stuck early on and stopped because I didn’t want to only recommend another slew of books and websites. I always want to add real value and share knowledge that inspires you to move forward spiritually, emotionally, personally and professionally.

I had an argument with myself about what to post and also since Thursdays are “Music Day,” my ‘Self Talk’ became tongue tied when I began considering which song I’d be mixing or editing and could not decide. So what I did to loosen up was trot downstairs to the BHive, fire up Reason 7 and start banging away on my V-Drums. When that became boring, I uploaded a piano and hammered through a few chords that may or may not become a killer song one day. I couldn’t come up with the proper bridge, so I saved and abandoned that idea, then slapped on my bass and pretended I was Marcus Miller. The breakthrough came when I auditioned a strange drum loop I wouldn’t ordinarily choose and all of a sudden the groove found me.

Suddenly, the purpose of this post became clear. There are obviously excellent methods and strategies that profesional songwriters use to write hit songs. There are exceptional formulas, business plans and fool proof procedures, techniques and systems for creating successful enterprises.
I am committed to being a life long learner and I try to glean as much wisdom from these various methods as possible. But the bottom line is that there is No Exact Way to become profitable in your field.

The EntreMusician’s life is all about experimentation. Hunting, Digging, Scratching. Searching, Plodding, Combing. You Try This – Put it Down and Pick Up That. The EM is about Imagination, Adventure, The Journey and Once You’re On It, the Groove Finds You…

In fact, at this moment, as I write this, I am listening to the Live Webcast from Platform University, where I am an online student. Michael Hyatt’s special guest is Jeff Goins and they are talking about getting stuck in blogging! (You Can’t Plan This, Folks!) My ADHD is also in full throttle so I am listening to Pat Metheney’s “Secret Story” in the background.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Resourceful Community

Maintaining a viable edge as an EntreMusician has more to do with establishing community than being competitive. Building a healthy network of resources to instantly draw from provides a synergy that both nourishes and propels your artistry forward faster and further than you could alone.

There are so many valuable, informative books, sites and forums to consider, it becomes a daunting task to comb through them all. Below I share three organizations which have educated, advised and helped me create a community of fellow EntreMusicians I frequently consult and consider as I do my work.

Brian Austin Whitney created Just Plain Folks as a base for Songwriters to network with and learn from. He set up chapters throughout the country and watched his idea grow into a community of 50,000+ Songwriters who collaborate and build upon the strength of the other for a very vibrant, pure sharing of information and resources. I’ve only met Brian once, in Cleveland, in 2006 for a Just Plain Folks showcase where my band, SounDoctrine performed. Since then, I must have emailed him a thousand times for advice and insight and he’s always responded promptly and earnestly, providing just the right answers or pointing me in the direction for the solution. I have also benefited from the direct camaraderie of select songwriters with whom I stay in touch. This is the right community to join, learn from and grow with.

I read the electrifying “The Future of Music” back in 05 and was radically transformed by the ideas Kusek & Leonhard’s work generated. While I would like to take credit for my part in evangelizing this firestorm, little did I know a movement had already been formed in early 2000 which looked out for EMs, whether Independent or signed to a major. The Future of Music Coalition holds many conventions, stays abreast of Net Neutrality, changes in Copyright Law, Licensing, Publishing and is a Loud Voice in DC for the protection of Music Creators. Aligning yourself with FOMC is the most sensible action you can take to insure the rug is not pulled out from under an industry that deserves fair compensation at every level.

I consider Cliff Goldmacher a future friend and prolific Songwriter, Producer and Author whose new e-book, The Songwriter’s Handbook is unique, witty and poignant. Even if you’ve been composing for a longtime, you’ll discover fresh approaches to your craft. His Site, The Educated Songwriter is a One Stop of pertinent information to keep EMs on point. Right now the e-book is free and I’ve found Cliff to be very accessible in spite of his busy schedule. He’s a believer in sustaining resourceful communities!

I am listening intently to Pat Metheney & Anna Maria Jopek’s impeccable “Upojenie” which unleashes another wonderful side of Pat’s careful melodies. A beautiful offering!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Definition of an EntreMusician

These September posts are dedicated toward providing educational resources and ideas. Last week we reviewed the book, “Your Band is a Viruss” by James Moore. Today, I’m fleshing out a clearer description of what and who an EntreMusician really is. At first, I thought I could provide a succinct ‘dictionary like’ definition which neatly buttoned up each of the protracted characteristics, as you’ll note toward the end, yet this alone proved stagnant. In wanting to present the most thorough presentation, which draws from both my experiences and aspirations, I’ve composed this soliloquy.

I’d love to hear back from you to see if you agree, and/or if I have left out any important attributes you personally employ.

EntreMusicians who are band members, are usually the leaders. They book the gigs, negotiate the fee, hire and fire the managers and write the checks, even when they don’t get paid themselves. The EntreMusician arrives at the venue first and leaves last. They are more concerned about the sound and the aesthetics than the rest of the band. He may have written all of the lyrics and music for the group. She is quite concerned about and reads up on copyrights, publishing and licensing deals. He defends the brand to the death. She takes online courses in marketing and some web design.

Of course the same applies to the Solo EM!

Everything an EntreMusician chooses or chooses not to do – is carefully weighed against his or her purpose and mission. He knows his audience to within a whisker of their facial hair. She can define their psychographic allegiances and creates art to build upon them. Even decisions seemingly left to chance contain the forethought of building community around the one idea, the one thread that courses through the EntreMusician’s soul.

EntreMusicians are not perfect. Yet, they are never afraid to make and admit to mistakes. They are not ashamed to hit the “reset button” or recalculate and restructure the total package if necessary. They carry the weight, confess their failures and build again. The EntreMusician is committed to success through multiple rejections, personal loss, bankruptcy, abandonment or worse…

The fact that no one understands a true EntreMusician is an asset. The last thing they want to do is follow a mindless crowd. Yet this same person is a confident team builder who treats his/her crew with humility, transparency and leads with integrity. Their priorities are firm and they respect and compliment those who share their journey. EntreMusicians set healthy standards, wholesome boundaries and operate in a spirit of excellence on and off stage.

To summarize – The EntreMusician is a visionary leader committed, focused and disciplined to creating and promoting the finest music possible, regardless of the genre, while maintaining sound business ideals and practices that propel their work forward in the minds and hearts of their targeted tribe.

Hope this helps!,

I was listening to the incredible art of the Brian Blade Fellowship. Their album “Landmarks” grows on you like a bacteria with no cure!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Band is a Virus (Book Review)

Since September is typically the “Back To” Month, with people returning to school and other norms, I’ll take these next four weeks to share educational resources for EntreMusicians to further encourage, inspire and expand our knowledge base.

I was recently contacted by Matt Bacon of Independent Music Promotions about reviewing its founder, James Moore’s best selling book, “Your Band is a Virus.” I must admit I was a little skeptical, as I have held and shared my suspicions about our ever changing industry and how to navigate through it. I wondered if anyone could accurately define and set forth appropriate guidelines EM’s should follow. The last book I read which included such mind blowing dynamics was Kusek and Leonhard’s now archaic but still brilliant “The Future of Music.” The community their work spawned continues to thrive, educate and provide necessary awareness to issues musicians very serious about their business should address. Their insight on ‘Music Like Water‘ salted an ocean we’ve been swimming in for the past 15 years.

Stalwart composer/musician Bill Withers once said that the best songs, in his opinion, are the ones he hears and wished he had written. I feel the same way about “Your Band is a Virus.” This book is the proper and logical way for any artist, from beginner to seasoned professional, to rethink his or her plan for creating success in the Brand Newer New Music Think Tank.

Moore’s delivery is straightforward, precise and builds an incredible platform for “the why” in applying the instructions he suggests. If you are a fan of Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt or Ariel Hyatt (no relation to my knowledge) you can hear their precepts in his writing, but the content is contagiously original and you immediately understand that he’s not just echoing material he has read or heard, but has himself lived. Learning from his experiences will save beginners a fair amount of bruises.

Admittedly, I still have my concerns about the mindset of giving music away with such a cavalier attitude, but Moore says, “Get over it! The cat is out of the bag” and won’t be returning. He then provides strategy for doing so to increase your fan base. A few of these I do agree with and will experiment on. He also brilliantly addresses ‘branding,’ ‘crowd funding’ and the proper way to build and maintain your website, create a newsletter, podcast and also license your music. This is a book that I will return to over and over to revamp my own platform, at least for the next 15 years when everything changes again!

Additionally, this book has a ton of resources to explore and wonderful articles and interviews in the appendix for greater perspective and insight.

There is, however, an approach I’d like to address and digress toward, although Mr. Moore repeatedly notes his suggestions should be customized to the reader’s specific genre. Most Music Marketing Books are written for the average pop rock band. As I have read through most of these for the past 30+ years, there have been extremely few which have addressed the specific needs of jazz, blues, fusion, folk and gospel artists. This book is no exception and it would have been cool to place some concrete applications for these types of musicians to follow. But, as already stated, the author is writing from his own experiences and knowledge base.

That opinion aside, I highly recommend “Your Band is a Virus.” I don’t have a rating system, but if I did, this book would be off the charts for the wisdom and experience that bleeds through every page. It’s a Wonderful Read!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,