They Say: “You’ll Never Make It in this Business”
They Say: “You Need to Go to This School and have That Degree”
They Say: “Only 2% Succeed in Your Industry, So Don’t Bother”
They Say: “You Need The Right Connections”
They Say: “You Have to Dress Like This and Play Your Trumpet Like That or Forget It!”
They Say: “No One Is Going to Appreciate Your Style of Music!”
They Say: “You Have No Right to Take That Position”
They Say: “You Don’t Deserve to Receive Those Accolades!”
They Say: “It Will Never Work!”
They Say: “Don’t Expect Much, So You Won’t Be Disappointed!”
Yes, They Say a lot of Discouraging, Mean & Nasty Things, often without trying to be Mean, Nasty or Discouraging.
Somehow They forget that the Celebrated Icons They Themselves Honor, Revere & Adore were Told the Very Same Things, Did Not Have the Right Connections, Money, Resources or Attend an Institution of Select Pedigree.
Icons are Pioneers whom Forge their Own Identities, Sounds, Art & Creativity onto the Global Landscape without Asking Permission or Seeking Solace in the Status Quo.
These Ambassadors of Innovation Shift the Platform of Public Paradigms into New Realities of Consciousness that Shape the Future and Transcend Life As We Currently Understand It.
With Constant Obstacle, Hurdles, Detours and Encumbrances at Every Level, Vanguards Chase Away the Proverbial They as These Climb Higher Toward Their Own Thrones, Created Just for Them.
Go and Do Likewise…
Today I am Incredibly Transparent with You.
I Trust You’ll Appreciate My Confessions.
Far Too Often, I become Extremely Discouraged as an EntreMusician. Especially in the Neighborhood of Lost Opportunities. If & When I Miss a Shot at an Important Gig, Submission, Audition or Project that would have either Paid Handsomely or led to an even Greater Opp, I get really bummed. Within the grueling peripherals of this past week, due to personal family woes, I’ve been ridiculously behind and absolutely unproductive – in every area! In fact, I had to rigorously talk myself out of an impulse buy of Izotope’s Music Production Bundle 2, credit card in hand, just to pacify myself (although Ozone 7 remains on My List)!
I find that If I do not get a handle on my thoughts, I can easily slide into a“Comparisonism & Lack Mentality” mode which are Detrimental to every Artist & Musician.
Exhaustive Concentration on the Equipment, Skills, Connections, Resources, Looks, ___________, ___________ I Don’t Own Quickly Deteriorates My Perspective on the Attributes I Do Possess and seriously hinders my Flow & Output.
But, When that Ugly Shadow begins to Overwhelm, I’ve Learned to Employ a Consistent Series of Well Placed “F” Words, Complete with Fiery Enunciation and Spit! This is what helped me put my credit card down…
Firstly, My Faith is Foundational.
Knowing that I am Forever Forgiven for Former & Future Failures by My God through His Son, Jesus Christ provides an Eternal Outlook and Completely Minimizes My Temporal Blunders. My Prayers, submitted to His Purpose & Plan for Me Settles My Calling and Seals My Destiny.
My Family, Beginning with My Adorable Wife of 22 Years and our Three Amazing Daughters are my Treasures in Life and Help Fasten My Focus on What Really Matters Most. Lori & I have walked Hand in Hand through Joy, Tears & Tough Terrain and grow more in love with each other and our journey with each passing hour. What Else Does a Brother Need?
I Have Absolutely Awesome Friends who although Few are Completely True. They Simultaneously Encourage & Challenge Me to Grow & Go Further than I could Imagine. Real Friends See Into You & See Through You. They are Bold Enough to Call Out the Occasional Foolishness and Call Forward the Authenticity Inside.
Finally, I’m Blessed with the Favor of Funk, for this is the Songwriter, Producer & Musician I Am!
Irregardless of the Genre! Being able to Swing “The One” either a millisecond Before or After the Top of the Measure Matters. Forging a humility to Stay in the Pocket although I’ve not honed the same severity of thrillingly Sick Tricks my counterparts have has kept me working, for which I am truly thankful – for just being able to be me!
Perhaps You Thought I was going to Litter This Post with “F” Bombs, which might release steam in a moment of crisis, but do nothing to sow gratitude into our spirits.
I Wish You Joy, Love, Peace, Harmony & Rhythms of Grace!
I Am Listening to Azymuth’s “Light As A Feather” On Vinyl while writing this post.
Sure, The Old Adage still rings true: “It’s Who You Know!”
Certainly it’s great to have an uncle who is one of three main limo drivers for the soon to be Sir Eric Clapton and/or a cousin who roadies for Chaka Khan when she’s on the West Coast or perhaps you live around the corner from Bob James, but once the Introductions draw to an end, it’s What You Know & How Well You Know It That Will Make or Break you.
Your Performance on Stage or in the Studio transcends any Professional Reference.
Your Professionalism in the most Stress Filled Situations Speak Louder than Any ‘Good Word’ Someone Puts in For You.
Your Character & Integrity Stands Taller than Your Résumé …in fact, Your Reputation Becomes Your Résumé
Your Choice to Integrate With Your Fellow Musicians and Play Your Lines Rather than the Role of the Superstar is What Gets You Called Back
Your Ability to Repeatedly “Bring It” On Demand Will Build a Far More Secure Stature Faster than Depending on Your Contact to Make a Connection.
No less than Quincy Jones quipped, “It’s Better that the Opportunity Never Come, than When It Does and You’re Not Prepared For It!”
So, It’s Cool, Go Ahead and Reach Out to Your Aunt Betty’s Friend of a Friend who golfs with Shawn Mendes, but at the End of the Day, It’s Still On You to Produce!
I was listening to Nathan East’s new “Reverence” on CD as I composed this Blog
EntreMusicians are Excellent Planners & Keen Executioners. We are Faithful at Follow Up and Process our Visions to the Nth Degree. We Face Forward and Effortlessly Advance to our Next Scheduled Items without Losing the Groove.
All Good, but…
EntreMusicians are also challenged with an Acute Inability to Pause and Review our Work. We fail to Properly Index our Calendars to Scrutinize our Previous Performances & Projects and Ascertain their Effectiveness.
While most of us maintain the habit of waiting until the Final Week of December to sit with our Old & Shiny New Planners, the Wiser Move is to Consistently Schedule Weekly, Monthly & Quarterly Reviews (the More Obsessive EMs Implement Dailies) to Appropriate Our Goals, Sharpening Our Saws as We Meticulously Slice Away.
As We Approach this Fifth Month of the Year (already!) let’s take a day or two to Glance Back at the Rear View to Make Sure We’re Not Adrift of the Course we launched in January.
I was listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Mr. Hands” on Vinyl while composing this blog.
The First True Threat to Copyright’s Extinction in Our Lifetime was the invention of the Sampler and its Little Cousin, the Portable DAT , which blew open Recording Studio Doors to Unlimited Imagination and Unabashed Thievery. No Previous Song Was Safe From the MPC and against the backdrop of the late, great James Brown‘s roaring protests stood Chuck D‘s amplified mantra, “Yo, You Can’t Copyright No Beat!!”
The Recordable CD on Your Laptop gave birth to the First Napster and File Sharing introduced an new generation of fans to Led Zeppelin while making bands like Radiohead and Dispatch household (pun intended) names.
Music Buyers metamorphosed into Music Lovers who No Longer Purchased Music. Record Companies finally awakened from their Cash Comas (brought on by the CD Boom) and realized they could not NOT Negotiate with Steve Jobs. When the dust settled around the 99 cent download and Napster’s Socks were Sued Off, the entire notion of Copyright Protection for the Content Owner began to slip into the paws of the Content Provider.
Streaming seeks to further erode such protections more subtly as Subscription Models ensure the End User Owns Nothing and Access is Granted or Revoked based on Advantaged Licensing Agreements tilted toward the Providers, Not The Owners.
Less Copyright Protection Equals Far Fewer Royalties for Owners who are now relying on Congress to Change the Game. Many Say Copyright is Dead,or at best on life support with the hyper advance of technology and Creative Commons squelching the Conversation.
EntreMusicians would do well to Resurrect this Sacred Trust by Developing Technology which Secures our Unique Position as sole Owner/Provider, Creating our Own Subscription Channels Direct to our Exclusive Bases, Disconnected from the Snares of Apple, Google, Spotify and YouTube. Established & Marketed Correctly, This Vehicle would Guarantee that Copyright remains Right.
For More Engaging Articles on Copyright Fairness and Other Concerns, Visit TheEntreMusician.com, where you can also Download My Free E-Book, “50 Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family.”
I was listening to Jeff Lorber‘s “Galaxian” on vinyl while composing this blog.
One of the Earliest and Most Critical Mistakes Any New EntreMusician tends to Make in this Business is Relying Upon Verbal Agreements.
It’s Easy to Do Because at This Stage You’re Extremely Excited that the Phone Even Rang!
And Before You Know It, Your Enthusiasm Gaining the Advantage, You’ve Locked in The Band, The Date and Invested Precious Time & Resources solely based upon what some Stranger (or Friend) Said she was going to pay you.
There’s already a degree of embarrassment because you nervously negotiated a price and most likely settled for less than Your Original Fee. So with the possibility of losing the entire gig dangling in your imagination, you choose to forego any further timidity and agree to most everything else.
You arrive on time, perform magnificently (of course), only to have the venue owner congratulate you on a wonderful show but with apologies that he didn’t sell enough tickets, drinks or secure the amount of sponsorship he was hoping to receive (which has absolutely nothing to do with you – unless you were not listening) so now he claims he can only pay you…
The very best way to avoid this type of robbery is to Always Place Your Agreement in Writing and Make Certain You place this important piece of conversation atop your discussion.
The All Important Question “And What is Your Budget for this Event?” will provide you all of the necessary information you’ll need before continuing “Please Email Your Agreement to…”
At this Point Either Two Significant Events Will Happen:
1. The Reputable Promoter will make sure they’ve spelled your email address properly and send you the requested document or perhaps ask you to send yours (more on that in a bit)
2. She will begin making several excuses about why she doesn’t use/have one or a Written Agreement, or begin to use those infamous words ‘trust me…’
It’s Vital that You begin to utilize a Written Agreement the moment you’ve formed your act. Even if only charge $50 for the night, get into the habit of using a contract!
If the club owner doesn’t have one, present one. If you don’t have one, create one or download one from http://www.theentremusician.com, and don’t forget the include asking for a 50% deposit!
Serious Venue Owners take you far more seriously when You Talk Terms of Agreement and are prepared to document them even if they are not prepared to present one. The offer itself adds major validation to your professionalism.
And Remember, That’s Exactly Who You Are!
Next Time, We Talk About Getting Paid BEFORE Your Performance!
Although I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this post, I going to be listening to Stevie All Month!
The First Week of January is akin to the Dawn of Spring. Creative Endorphins Dance and Sing. New Energy is Released. Fresh Vitality, Intentions, Goals and dare I say, Resolutions are made to Immediately Implement!
It’s a Brand New Year! The Reset Button was engaged at the drop of the ball and by golly, Absolutely Everything I Didn’t Complete Last Year, Multiplied by ALL I Endeavor to Achieve This Year WILL Get Done, or ELSE!
Too many years have passed with crushed pieces of my soul left in the dust, because of my Obsessive Compulsion to Overachieve. While I pretended to become smarter by trying to rearrange my madness as the decades swam by, I Managed to Employ Seven Approaches which have Helped Me to Complete My Goals with Greater Effectiveness.
1 ) Count Your Blessings
Begin with a Grateful Heart and Make a List of All You have Accomplished and the Wonderful Things that happened in the Previous Year. Believe Me, It make the Trials You May have Endured Seem Smaller and Provides Momentum to Finish What Didn’t Get Done.
2 ) Relax & Breathe
Resist The Urge to Plow Right In! Take A Moment to Pray/Meditate/Visualize the Process and Moment of Completion and Your Best Starting Options. Then Put On Your My Favorite Music (Or Begin Creating It) and Go To Town!
3 ) Always Honor Your Why
Expanding Simon Sinek’s Great Work “Start with Why” with Continual Intermissions of Remembering and Honoring Your Purpose & Reasons for Doing The Work. Utilize Daily Affirmations and Other Reminders to Keep You Focused and Pushing Ahead to Get the Job Done!
4 ) Limit & Prioritize
One of the Major Reasons Goals are Not Achieved is Because We Chew More than We Can Swallow and End Up Spitting Out The Entire Mouthful. Michael Hyatt Recommends No More than 7 to 10 Goals a Year, But Don’t Be Afraid of One, Two Or Three. If You Chose “Paying Off All Debt” as Your Only Goal, You’re Going to Leave Room for Several Wonderful Options!
Once Your Goals Have Been Identified, List Them in Order of Importance! I’m a Huge Fan of Dave Ramsey’s Advice to Begin With the Easiest Goal FIRST, Just to Kick Off Your Momentum and Build Confidence – Then Tackle the Next Easist and Onward!
5 ) Don’t Go It Alone
This was a HUGE Mistake of Mine for Years. I Had the Lone Ranger Syndrome, when I should have had a Team! Now I Know (And Do) Better! MAke Very Sure You have At Least One Person Holding You Accountable to Your Goals, Priorities & Deadlines! BUT…MAke Sure It’s Someone Who Absolutely Understands What Needs To Be Done, How You Plan to Do It and Your WHY!
6 ) Sharpen Your Saw
Dr. Stephen Covey‘s prompting to Keep Your Saw Sharp by Constantly Improving Your Education & Insight on the Work You’re Doing is a MUST!!! There’s Bound to Be a Book, Article, Video and/or Online Course You Can Utilize to Gain More Effective Efficiency! Use The Tools!!
7 ) Laugh Along the Way
You Are Going To Make Mistakes. You Are Going To Fall Behind. You Are Going to Become Frustrated, Confused, Overwhelmed, Angry, Afraid and Want to Give Up Every 147 Hours! Laugh About It! Lighten Up! Go Easy on Yourself and Simply Begin Again!
Happy New Year To You!
My Intention is To Be Here Weekly and Not Drop The Ball Once! Hold My Feet To The Fire!
I Wasn’t Listening to Any Music As I Composed This…
Everyone is Well Aware of the Two Most Important Commodities on Planet Earth.
Time & Money.
Both Can Be Wasted, Saved, Spent or Invested. Used Wisely, Each Possesses the Power to Obtain Greater Assets & Privileges and/or Provide Basic or More Luxurious Needs to the Few or Many. Frequently, Both Are Traded for the Other and Wisdom is Tested in How Well One Uses or Abuses Them.
EntreMusicians at Every Level Seem to be in Short Supply of Either. Walking The Narrow Tightrope of How to Utilize the Best of Both Pay Huge Dividends and Multiplies Our Successes Exponentially.
Although I Have Not Included any Hard Core Solutions to Our Conundrum, I have listed Three Tiny Scenarios that I have personally walked through in the hopes that they Motivate You to Think Through the Issues Before You Spend (Or Waste) Either Valuable Resource.
1) Music Lessons. Admittedly, I am the Worse Drummer I Know. Many Also Know This and Would Agree! I Hated Taking Drum Lessons in my youth and Now I’m Paying for My Embarrassment, When I Should’ve Paid for The Lessons…
I am a Far Better Songwriter & Producer, for which I also Didn’t Take Lessons, but Spent a Million Hours Developing My Craft, Buying & Blowing Up Gear and Listening, Listening, Listening to My Favorite Artists to Learn (read steal) Ideas from…Although there are Countless Conferences, Workshops & Seminars I could have shelled out for, which Others Attend & Swear by, I Believe My Time in the Basement was the Better Investment.
2) Buying Studio Time or Building Your Own Space. Purchasing Studio Time at a Reputable Place with a Knowledgeable Engineer is a Dream – When You Know Exactly What You Want, Have Thoroughly Prepared Your Music & Practiced Like Crazy! If None of Those Things Are in Place, You Might As Well Set Fire to Your Hard Earned Cash Right Doggone Now!
There are a few Compassionate Engineers and they usually have Small Digital Clocks next to their boards. If You See a Huge Round Audible Ticking Monster Hanging on the Wall Behind Their Chair and Two More in the Booth with a Blinking Count Down Mechanism, You had Better Gone to the ATM! If they happen to Hate Your Music, Well The Clock Theory Goes Out The Window with You & the Rest of Your Gear!
I’ve been Beyond Fortunate to Own several Tascam 4 & 8 Track Cassette Recorders in the Medieval Days of Home Recording, as well as Collaborating with Like Minded Musicians & Studio Owner/Engineers who were on their own quests to Learn & Grow. This saved Valuable Time and The Only Money Spent was on Better Gear (more on that soon).
3) Do I Really Need A Manager? No. Yes & No.
If You are Just Beginning, Embrace EntreMusicianship for All It’s Worth and Invest Your Time Learning Every Single Aspect of Managing You, Your Schedule, Your Band, Their Schedules. Make Every Phone Call. Send (and respond to) Every Text & Email. Learn Your Market and Learn How to Say “No Thank You!” when that Promised Exposure Only Benefits the Promoter/Club Owner. Become an Expert Negotiator!
As Your Band & Brand Grows, Spend the 5 to 8% on Loyal, albeit Inexperienced Managers willing to devote themselves exclusively to You and will work with you to decrease Your Blind Spots and Actually Help You Build Your Artistic Acumen. Professional Managers will definitely be worth the 10 to 15% but You Must Also Be Worth It To Them and the Way You Know That is NOT In The Way They Woo YOU, but what they have Proven to Have Done for Others! Still, You Should be Concerned about their Exclusivity to You and Not just another of the 16 acts on their agency roster.
The Most Efficient Way to Invest Time & Money at the Outset of Your Career is to Build A Team. This Includes An Attorney, An Accountant, A Social Media Director/Publicist and Your Own Hand Picked Manager/Booking Agent. Interview Each Carefully, Have A Ton Of Meetings, Individually & Collectively (Yes You May Have to Pay for Their Time). Make Sure They Understand Your Vision, Principles & Goals (Make Sure You Understand Them Too!), Iron Out Percentages on the Front End, with an Optional Earnings Elevator (i.e., The More You Earn Over Time as a Result of Everyone’s Efforts, Their Percentages Also Increase).
I Confess with Joy that this has been the Single Most Efficient Decision, which has helped me to endure even during the dark times or when SounDoctrine is Not on Stage or in the Studio. A Team helps Weather the Storms, Keeps The Vision Alive & Encourages You To Advance Ahead.
We’ll Discuss Three More Next Steps Next Week. Thanks for Taking the Time to Read This Blog! I Was Listening to The Crusaders’ “Images” on Vinyl while Writing & Posting here!
Let’s Pretend for A Moment…
Say You’ve Invented a Brand New Universal Tool. Its Purpose is to Be An Important, Indispensable Standard that People of All Races, Ethnicity and Cultures will Appreciate & Enjoy!
This Tool Can Be Used In Your Home, Business, Car, Place of Worship or On Your Mobile Device while You’re On The Go. You Know that People Are Going To Love & Appreciate It, Once they are Aware of its Availability and Affordable Price.
You Own the Patent to this Tool and have Trademarked the Brand Name. Although You Do Not Own the Various Patents to the Equipment & Software You’ve used to Develop This Fantastic Gadget, You Have Patented & Control the Unique Processes by which Your Tool is Designed & Manufactured. You Are Aware that a Few “knock-offs” may be developed overtime, but Your Methodology Ensures that You Will Become & Probably Remain a Market Leader.
The Next Step is to Partner with a Distributor who can Help Market, Promote and Get Your Tool into as Many Hands as Possible. You Make What You Feel is A Great Deal with a Company with a Global Reach and Does Not Impede on Your Exclusive Rights & Control over the Manufacture of Your Magnificent Tool.
Overtime, You Notice that This Distributor’s Profits have begun to Eclipse Your Own. For Every $1000 You See, They have made $10,000 and in some cases and in a few regions much, much more, due to their ‘bundling’ of Your Tool with Lesser Quality Devices. Heck, They’ve even Developed a Subscription Model whereby the Customer is able to Use Your Tool As Many Times as They Wish, Without Even Purchasing It.
To Some Extent, You May Not Mind the Creativity of The Distributor’s Concept. After All, Your Tool is Available Everywhere & Absolutely Everyone is Using it and Appreciating its Functionality. Your Tool is a Bonafide Hit!
The Problem is You’re Not Getting Paid What You Know Your Tool is Worth – and – If It Were Not for Your Tool, The Distributor would Never, Ever See the profits they currently enjoy.
So, You Try to Re-Negotiate, Only to Discover that this Very Rich, Very Smart, Well Connected Distributor has successfully lobbied certain Members of Congress, The DOJ, Other Well Established Government Officials and even Similar Minded Partner Distributors to Enforce Laws & Practices that Keep the Big Bucks Rolling In for Them while You’re Left Counting Pennies.
However, Remember that because You Own the Patents, Trademark and the Manufactured Tool itself, which The Distributor Needs to Sustain their Business, You Have A Crucial Decision to Make.
A) Keep Things the Way They Are, Grateful That Your Tool Is A Worldwide Sensation, Even Though You’re Being Robbed Out of Fair Compensation?? (In Fact, You Are Planning to Make More, Perhaps Better Tools to Send Them to Rob You With)
B) Remove Yourself & Your Tool from The Agreement and Begin the Painstaking Process of Becoming a Niche Distributor where Less People May Be Aware of Your Tool, But You Earn Higher Profits with Each Sale? (the additional profit affords you greater opportunity to improve your marketing)
Obviously You Understand that I am Talking About Songwriters and Their Songs.
I Sincerely Desire for Every EntreMusician to Answer This Question Truthfully.
Before You Do, However: Check Out These Two Articles:
I Have Had Hundreds of Conversations with Artist/Musicians at All Levels and Each Answer Varies to the Point where I Needed to Simplify My Approach by Presenting a Different Business where the Creator & Manufacture Must Look At The Bottom Line to Determine Whether of Not He/She Could Remain In Business or Close Their Doors.
Music is Such An Emotional Tool that Fame Often Overshadows Fortune. An EntreMusician Can End Up Eating Bread Sandwiches while Everyone is Singing Their Songs…
I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this blog post.