Tag Archives: Stevie Wonder

Three Tiny Steps on The Tightrope of Time & Money

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!

 

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Four Ways I Fall Into Autumn

“Bah Dee Yah, Say Do You Remember? Bah Dee Yah Dee Yah Dee Yah!”

September!!(for those not familiar with the classic Earth Wind & Fire anthem)

Parents are Delighted, Students Dreadfully Curious and Employees Everywhere Assemble to Swap Vacation Stories and their Sandals for Sweaters. As Autumn Dawns, Everyone Seems to Settle into a Greater Degree of Normalcy which soon Make Us Long for Careless Summers Once More.

EntreMusicians prepare to hunker down in various Studio Configurations. Some to Create & Collaborate. Others to Re-Design or Re-Define their Marketing Strategies. Several Summer Tour Ensembles will Break Apart in A Blaze of Entropy – Mostly caused by Laundry Issues or An Undisciplined  Drummer Keeping Better Time with the Keyboardist’s Girlfriend than he did on Stage!

Either way, there’s a Rhythm to September that EntreMusicians can sequence into a funky pattern of productivity. If you’re anything like me, I’ve adopted these Intentional Habits (read obsessions) that help me settle into a Quiet, Music Filled Winter.

1) RESET My Ideal Week.  Two years Ago, I adopted My Virtual Mentor, Michael Hyatt‘s suggestion to give Every Day A Name and a Theme for Efficiency & Effectiveness – For Example: Thursdays are Music Day (and Date Night with Lori), Fridays are for Meetings, Wednesday is reserved for Deeper Personal Bible Study and So On.

Generally, Summer takes on certain nuances that make for a looser grid and although I maintain my themes, not everything is so locked in. When September comes, I fine tune and tweak so my Habit Monster is Happy with me Again!

2) REVIEW & REMOVE: Certain Social Friends. I began this habit about Three Years Ago. It’s Time Consuming to Try to Appear Omnipresent, so I whittled down my Social Existence to Only Three Platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter. I then began looking at who I actually wished to engage with, who posted more interesting topics I would benefit from and those whom I could literally recommend to another EntreMusician or Creativewho might need their expertise. Again, during the summer, I tend to invite – or get invited to spaces without actually during the research to see if I (or they) need to be a connection. I never take it personal either way, I just Review, Decide & Remove if Applicable.

This Summer, I Did Something So Stupid, It Truly Fits in Items #1 & #2! I made a Promise to Periscope Daily at 8:30PM and found myself either in places not suitable for video or lacking any valuable content important enough to share! Well I’m Done with that nonsense and since Facebook Live is Already My Platform, There is No further Reason to Scope!

3) READ:

I Primarily Digest Business/Leadership Books, but in Autumn, I Get My Creativity back in Check by Reading Autobiographies. Here Are A Few I’m Taking Off the Shelf this Fall:

No, The Last Dude is Not A Musician, but My Eldest Daughter Tejai bought if for my 50th Birthday, So I Need to Check It Out!

4) REFRESH My Unfinished Compositions. I Listen to Absolutely Everything I have Not Released and Many I Have, just to see if there’s another angle or if it’s truly Crapazoid! (Especially the Unfinished/Unreleased Stuff). In fact, there are about 15 songs I have been breathing new life into which are about 30+ years old! They are getting off the hard drive and out of the Studio with Different Musicians, Vocalists and Arrangements! It does my heart good that they’ll soon hit the street. But then there are the others…

So This is The Way I Fall Back Into Autumn. I would Love to Hear How You Handle the Change of Pace…Post Them on My Facebook Page

I was listening to John Klemmer‘s “Finesse” on Vinyl while composing this. A Great Way to Melt into Autumn!

 

 

 

 

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Ask Yourself The Hard Question!

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.

Would You:

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)

Or…

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:

STREAMING NOW MAKES SONY $25 MILLION A WEEK

SIRIUS OWNER SAVAGES SPOTIFY BUSINESS MODEL

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.

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Your Song, Your Story, Your Voice

In Today’s Tumultuous Climate, with Raging Debates driving Social Media & Talk Shows and the Extraordinarily Divisive Atmosphere pervading even the smallest towns in these so called United States, it’s often easy to Ignore the Anointing available to EntreMusicians and Creatives to turn the tide.

The Inherent Power we Possess in Pointing Others toward Peace, Honor, Dignity, Unity and dare I say, the Promise of True Brotherly & Sisterly Love Does Indeed Exists, If We’d All only take a moment to Step Back, Breathe, Think, Pray & Righteously Engage.

As EntreMusicians & Artists, it’s Not Enough to Document the Current Reality, but to Prophecy of the Possibilities we all have access to as Citizens of Planet Earth.

Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Shirley Verrett, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Joan Dresner Bernstein, Gloria Larry House, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder (whose lyrics from “As” were recently recited by Dallas Police Chief David Brown during the Memorial for the Fallen Officers) and countless others uniquely utilized their Art to Soar over Sadder Times, creating a Soundtrack of Resilience, Hope, Salt & Light to Keep Us both Grounded and Looking Up.

So what about You?

How will You employ Your Song, Your Story, Your Voice and even Your Life to Shine as a Beacon in such a tremendously dark time in our country?

Lift It Up! Let It Shine! Sing It Loud! Say It Proud and Show Us The Way!

Here is a song I Wrote with the Dynamic Lyricist & Singer, Marlon Saunders, entitled “Just Think,” produced in a more peaceful period, but relevant for Today & Tomorrow.

 

I was listening to Jeff Lorber’s “It’s Fact” on vinyl while composing this blog!

 

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POWERLESS??

SPOTIFY AND APPLE ARE AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS…, Apple in Talks to Acquire Jay Z’s Tidal“…, YOUTUBE’S DOMINANCE TAKES A BEATING“…, & The Music Industry Just Lost a Big Fight with the Government Over Royalties” are just a few recent Headlines glaring in the faces of EntreMusicians. And the New News is Spotify Tops 35m Subscribers which continues to support the David & Goliath mock-up we’ve been fed for decades.

Sure, there are Certain Things that Intimidate Us, Most of Us are NOT Millionaires.

But Are We Powerless?  Or Do We Merely Think We Are? Who Convinced Us of This?

Are we Really in No Position to Change this Music Game and Reroute Our Artistry Directly to Our Individual Friendbase while Bypassing The Current System?

Is the notion of An Independent Streaming Model Available to Each EntreMusician Intelligent Enough to Create Continual Content too Difficult to Imagine?

If a $1.99 / $2.99 Exclusive Access Tier from Our Own Individual Channels were Created & Maintained, a Far Fairer Form of Compensation, and perhaps Appreciation, of our Art would be Enjoyed. Obviously, We’d Bear Sole Responsibility for Building & Nurturing our Tribe, but the Truth is We Do This Now while Reaping No Advantages

These Are the Questions I Continue to Ask, Conversations I Constantly Engage and the Plan I AM Currently Implementing.

In Numbers 13 (OT), Moses sends out 12 Spies to Investigate the land The Lord had appointed for them To Conquer. Forty Days Later, 10 of them returned with a Thoroughly Wimpy & Faithless Answer – even confessing that they felt as small as grasshoppers amidst the citizens there and must have looked the same way to them! 

If You’d keep reading, You’d find that the other two spies, Joshua & Caleb Radically Disagreed with the 10 punks and Courageously Inspired the People to Take The Land!

Now You Can Guess Who The Lord (who is a Staunch Rewarder of Faith) Was Ultimately Pleased With…

So, Are You a Joshua or a Caleb?

Or Are YOU Powerless?

 

While I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this blog, Earlier I was digging on Ahmad Jamal’s “Blue Moon

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You Mean They Drilled Into His Vault??

Obviously I have waited for what I feel is a respectable amount of time to bring this topic up. And I No Way Feel a Disconnect from the Main Topic I have espoused for the last few months, beginning weeks prior to Prince’s Majestically Mysterious Departure.

I have been asking “How You Define Success,” “How Important Are You,” and slowly initiating an Obsessive “Psychology behind the Philosophy” Mantra for EntreMusicians to Rethink our Entire Dependence on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and the Upcoming Amazon Streaming System. Irregardless of the fact that the Grammys are now considering a Brand New Category for Streaming Music, If Artists are Not Getting Paid, They’re Getting Pimped! (Tweet That!)

But I Digress…

Reflecting on The Purple One’s Intense Fight for Independence from Warners, His Mysterious Death (You Mean He was Left All Alone, All Night In That Huge Complex After Almost Dying a Week Earlier?), One of the Speediest Cremations of a Body Not Dying by Fire and to Top It All, his Private Music Vault Drilled Open Less Than 10 Days After His Death?!?!!

In Considering He was a Single Man at the time of his passing, Intensely Private and that he Left No Will, One of the Single Most Important Questions EntreMusicians Must Ask themselves is “Who Is My Advocate?” It seems that Tyka and the rest of his half-siblings, along with the Well Intentioned Shelia E, Larry Graham, Morris Day and others who knew His Royal Badness Extremely Well have to Sit on the Sidelines while an Attorney & A Record Company Executive muses through his Intellectual Property.

If  This  Doesn’t  Scare  the  Rhythm  Out  of  You,  You’re  NOT  A  Musician!

Here are a Few Questions You Should Ask & Answer before the End of this Blog:

“Does My Spouse/Significant Other Know Where My Copyright-Publishing Information Is and Can They LEGALLY Speak for Me if I am Physically/Mentally Incapacitated or am Deceased?”

“Where Is My Will and Is that Sucker Updated?”

“Do Select People I Love and Trust Have the Necessary Passwords to my BMI/ASCAP/SESAC and other Pertinent Accounts”

“Have I Explained Very Clearly My Wishes for My Musical Equipment/Software?”

 “Are My Collaborative Agreements with Other Songwriters/Band Members In WRITING and In Order?”

“Are My Trustworthy Attorney & Accountant Up to Speed on My Wishes for any Unreleased Music I Might Have?”

“Have I Backed Up My Hard Drives and Entrusted them to Safe People/Places?”

Hopefully, these are Enough to Encourage You to Become Very Intentional about the Inevitable. Taking Care of Business is Always of Ultimate Importance for the Intelligent EntreMusician.

 

I was listening to Bob James’ “Hands Down” on Vinyl while composing this post.

 

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The Plan in Perspective

I have a friend named Joe (real name) who started a New Gym in Youngstown Ohio 18 Months Ago. Geographically, Joe’s Gym is about 2.8 miles away from that Other, Better Established, Open 24/7, Only $10 a Month Gym that Most Everyone Frequents. Joe’s Gym is only open from 5:30am to 9:00pm, has far less equipment & space and his Monthly Memberships begins at 5x more than that other place. Yet Joe has a startling slew of clients and continues to add Specialized Sessions & Trainers to his Growing Roster.

The Secret to Joe’s Success is Joe.His Gym Provides Intentionally Focused Workouts in an Exceptional Environment that Provides Optimum Results to its Members. Joe’s Gym is called The Train Station.

I often think of Joe as I talk to Musicians and Software Developers about this Unfolding Plan I’ve proposed. In case You are Unaware, I began a Post several weeks ago concerning EntreMusicians readdressing the Direct Sales & Digital Distribution of their Art. I continued to Add Thoughts & Emotions and will continue to discuss & work with EntreMusicians to formulate a workable plan. The Conversation is Growing!

In short, I Believe that ALL EntreMusicians must utilize their ability to Stream their Content Directly to Their Own Tribes on a Subscription Basis, without the need of a Billion Dollar Corporation paying them less than a penny per stream. The Technology is Available, but must be Personalized in a format best suited for both Artist & End User. 

Dr. Nelson Harrison, a very forward thinker and founder of The Pittsburgh Jazz Network has proposed an Alternative through Millennium Music Media which I am currently checking into and awaiting a callback from a known Artist Currently on their roster.

Joe’s Success in Starting  & Growing The Train Station is in His Initiative to Customize a Service & System the Larger Gyms simply cannot and markets his personal touch accordingly, without railing against them – and Word of Mouth is growing.

Every EntreMusician Must Go and Do Likewise. The Excuses are Over. Other Options Are Available. The Ultimate Option remains in Controlling & Distributing Our Own Songs on Our Individually Owned Platforms and Doing the Hard Work of Marketing Ourselves Appropriately. That’s The Truth of Being Independent Artists.

I wasn’t playing any music while blogging, but I’ve just finished practicing the drums to the “Dreamland” CD by YellowJackets. William Kennedy, ALWAYS WOW!! 

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THE PLAN UNFOLDS…

If You Were Unable to check out last week‘s post or perhaps even the week prior, you may wish to begin there to understand the need for the New Plan…

The Problem is too well known. Music Lovers have been Conditioned to Believe that Music is (or should be) Free. The CD is Dead. The Download is Dying. Presently, Streaming is King and the Existing Platforms are controlled by Corporations earning Billions of Dollars via $9.99 Subscription Fees with music served up ‘Buffet Style’ or what Dave Kusek long ago termed “Music Like Water.” This practice is now a decade old…

BUT, to quote his Royal Purple Lateness, “The Baker ain’t makin’ No Bread!”  but The Corps are and this particular EntreMusician is long growing weary of hearing moans & groans of heroes past and present protesting, instead of rerouting the flow of their own dough.

The Plan is Simple. Systematically Remove Our Music from Places that Don’t Pay and Replace in Our Own Formats, On Our Own Platforms and Do The Hard Work of Rebuilding & Re-Educating Our Own Tribes to Gather & Party in Our Own Backyards.

Every Musician has a Website, and Every Website hosts a server which allows Us to Upload & Sell Our Media. Most Allow Us to Set Our Own Prices and since we generally pay them a fee, they do not take a Percentage of Our Earnings (Most go directly to a PayPal Account).

With that said, the technology exists for the EntreMusician to begin offering a Personalized Streaming Service. This May Sound Oversimplified. But It’s Definitely Doable.

Three Key Components are Needed to Construct the Foundation.

The First Component is Confidence. Bands, Musicians, Artists, Creatives MUST Know & Understand that Our Work is Important and Fulfills a Major Need in Life which has been earning Multi Billions since the 1970’s – but for whom? Anyone of Us who’ve taken the time to learn all of those Major 9th Chords and spent Countless Hours Practicing Counter Para-Diddles can buy a copy of Quick Books and do a little accounting! We Can Do This!

The Second is Unity. As with Any Call for Solidarity, there will be the Silence of those who Wish to Wait & See, all the while bemoaning the $0.0007 royalty check sent to them by Spotify!

The Final Component is Bloody Knuckled Hard Work. An EntreMusician is a Forward Thinking, Effective Creative with “Results” as our Main Focus! Nothing Less Will Do. Perseverance, Endurance and Sweat. The Fans Won’t Just Flock to Our Website. They Won’t Just plunk down the Micro-Payment to PayPal. BUT, If Our Music is Important Enough to Us and We Develop the Courage, Determination and Marketing Ability to Persuade, WE CAN Engage and Create Our Own Thing and Not Need to Answer to Anyone.

That’s How It Get’s Done!

Let’s Begin the Real Conversation or Quit Crying!

My Old Sony 200 Disc CD Player was spitting out the Funk at Random upstairs, while I was posting this – I was also engrossed in the Free Webinar by Dave Kusek who was interviewing Dave Cool from Bandzoogle – and I presented the question to the chat room which was asked On Air. Thanks Chelsea! 

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The Psychology beneath The Philosophy

Last week I targeted the Next Battleground facing EntreMusicians. Even this Morning, My Inbox was replete with Nasty Headlines on Google Music, YouTube & Spotify, with regard to Piracy, Royalty Fairness and the Scores of Angry Superstars upset with the status quo.

I’ve pretty much had it. I am formulating a Plan with My Team & I and  will be sharing with you in the hopes to create a dynamic which will champion Our Artistry and Recapture the Music.

Beforehand, I Must disclose the Imagery and Concepts We Are Discussing. The Plan is Not Perfect and is already rife with its share of challenges, but contains Very Necessary Components in which to Move Forward. The Process Begins Within.

  1. Absolute Fearlessness. I recently read an e-book by a certain music marketeer who bluntly stated that since the current streaming genie is out of the bottle, never to return, all artists need to quit whining and complaining and just conform, posting their music as many places as they can “for the exposure” and should be giving as much music away as they could. Mind You, His E-Book cost $5.00. EntreMusicians at Levels Must Begin Refuting this Nonsense Vigorously, although the Marketing Dollars Are Against Us. If we Truly Worked Extremely Hard – And Are United, We Can Completely Change The Game. That Little Fear Monster that just whispered to You that ‘It Can’t Be Done,’ Needs to Die the Death of Disco!           
  2. Define Your Own SuccessKnowing Your WHY is the Single Most Significant Factor of Your Entire Career and Your Life! Bob Dylan, Joan Boaz and Others began Writing & Singing for Completely Different Reasons than Lionel Richie, Stevie Nicks or You and I . Each had/has different audiences, levels of success, notoriety and platforms. Adjust Your Career Accordingly. Know EXACTLY What Your Art Is, Who Its For and Why You Occupy this Planet! Your WHY will save you from Unrealistic Expectations and – worse – Someone Else Telling You Whether or Not You’re Successful, based upon another Artist’s number of Downloads or Streams. Do YOUR WORK!                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Place Immediate Value on Your Art. While the Old Adage holds true that any item is only worth what the buyer is willing to pay, the EntreMusician is still responsible for Setting a Price. WHO Set the $0.99 price tag per download? You or Apple? Is Your Song Worth More? Who set the price splits between the Company and the Artist? Certainly Not the Artist. Have You Ever Asked Why – or More Importantly, WHY THE (MILD, GENTLE EXPLETIVE) NOT?   Yet, if You Formed Your Own Platform where You set the Price Point, perhaps lower, on some of your Art than current market price, but you were able to keep all of the pennies, how much quicker would you make and sustain a profit?                                                                                                                                                   
  4. Network. Unhealthy Competition is a tool of The Devil in the Arts. There is Someone in Your City, State, Genre and Demographic who is doing the Exact Same Thing You Are. Build a Mastermind Group, Form an Association or Guild. Target the Promoters, Venues and Agents in Your Area who are Unfair to Musicians and Collectively Avoid Them. Create Platforms that Engage Your Fans on Alternate Levels. Create Your Own Festivals and Invite Bands of Similar Style, Principles & Values. Work Together! Play Together! Sing & Dance Together!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The premise of My Team’s Plan stands on these four tenets, plus another component I will discuss next week. Currently we are setting up a new website, theentremusician.com which will be up and running in about two weeks and we can begin this work together. I trust I presented thought provoking situations to engage you in the conversation. Let’s create a dialogue to further think through these and other initiatives as they arrive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Let’s Change The World!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I was Listening To Azymuth’s “Cascades” on Vinyl while creating this post.
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Do It ANYWAY!!

Much time has past since my last post! One week away has turned into seven and summer has moved on. I’ve been living in the studio finalizing SounDoctrine’s “Source” project and very excited about the noise we all made. The new release date to September 18th, which is also my middle daughter Nia’s 18th Birthday so there will be tons of celebration and gratitude!

While mixing, remixing and doing odd pizza eating experiments, we were discussing the never ending articles of Music Industry woes. By the way, Apple Music hasn’t saved the world, at least Prince didn’t think so -but I digress – it’s obvious that making a physical CD is hardly worth the effort, unless you are over 50 and word on the street is that people are too impatient to wait for a download and either too cheap to spend the once coveted $0.99 cents and/or have found the all you can eat $9.99 monthly subscription the best bang. Obviously not good news for any artist outside the Taylor Swift threshold.

So our questions swiftly moved to the big WHY? Why does Mitch and Dylan drive down from Steubenville and Cleveland respectively every other day to play their livers out? Or Frank, the infamous late sleeper, rises before dawn to overdub his trumpet and synths. Why did Uncle Jerry pour over every single track at the darkened Listen Studios for hours on end and I have begged, bargained and bartered with our special guest artists who agreed to join us in this madness we call music! WHY??

Because we’re Musicians. 

Because we love what we do. Because we couldn’t fathom any other way of life and if we were not able to do this, you might as well plan our funerals.

Being able to receive a melodic download from the Most High and frame it around rhythms, harmonies and funky motifs where silence once existed is to Live Life! It’s breathing. It’s purpose in motion.

So what, we sell a couple thousand CDs without the aid of the machine. Who cares if we don’t become as famous as ____________. It doesn’t matter if this is another slow, grinding process of gigging every where we can so somebody, anybody will know that this music exists! 

Or maybe, just maybe we do exceed everyone’s erroneous expectations and blow up like we imagine we deserve, breaking records and winning multiple awards, affording us the lifestyles we’ve seen on documentaries. It wouldn’t matter at all, because that’s not what keeps us in the game!

“Did You Hear That?!?” “Play That Back!” “That’s Too Much Reverb!” “Wait, I Can Do that line much better!

This is the language of Love. To express and present our hearts – is manna from heaven.

Matters Not the Cost or the Result…We Do It Anyway!

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