Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here DIY and Indies now operate in an evolving marketplace that is making everybody’s heads spin. Nobody knows where the business is going, and they certainly do not know how. Still, there is revenue to be made, and competition is fierce for controlling interest in market share. So how can DIY’s and Indies function when their pockets aren’t so deep? Why, entrepreneurial innovation is the key. DIY’s and Indies can be the very definition of a start-up entrepreneur. It is a fact: Every growth market must and will mature. The music business is no different. At this time, music lovers’ needs have not really changed in many years. Their needs have been ignored, but that’s another story for another time. To reduce competition, The Bigs are consolidating between themselves and rolling up as many small competitors as they can. Market share Continue reading DIY and Indies Can Innovate in a Maturing Market
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Email Angela here: angeladurden[at]gmail[dot]com BOHICA: Bend over; here it comes again. BOHICA is a standard response in the corporate world for getting cheated, lied to, and tricked by those in power who are protecting self-interests. BOHICA gained popularity around the same time that downsizing entered the American lexicon. With recent conversations I’ve had with many music conference attendees, the phrase should be applied with equal force to the music business.
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Email Angela here: angeladurden[at]gmail[dot]com Sometime at the beginning of 2012, I went to a Songwriter-Producer Speed Dating event. (I was a songwriter.) At this event, people with music sat across the table from people with lyrics and we put on headphones and listened to each other’s stuff to see if there is a potential match for future collaborations. So, here I am, rotating from one to the next, listening to what I now know are “beats”. Naturally (and quite innocently) I asked where the rest of the song was. I got blank stares. Then finally someone said, “Well, you supply the rest of the song.” I said, “Oooookaaaayyy. Are you telling me you are making a boom-boom noise and you want me to write the chord progression, melody line, and lyrics?” Blank stares came back my way followed by questions. Continue reading I’ve Got the Beat, I’ve Got the Beat, I’ve Got the Beat. YEAH!
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here In a story by Hans Christian Andersen called The Emperor’s New Clothes, a vain emperor cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes. He hires two people who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes. But, they say, the fabric can only be seen by those who are fit for his position. Why, those who are “hopelessly stupid” cannot see the clothes at all. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing. What are they to do? They don’t want to look stupid. They don’t want to get fired. So they pretend to see the beautiful cloth. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished. They pretend to dress the Emperor who then marches through town in a big old parade to show off his new clothes. Not wanting to insult the king nor look stupid themselves, the king’s subjects lining the route of the parade play Continue reading From Riches to Rags to Nothing
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Email Angela here: angeladurden[at]gmail[dot]com A few years back, I was at an outdoor concert in a park near the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta. The main act was Paul Revere and the Raiders. The opening act was three local guys (keys, bass, and drums, and they all sang) who, I now know the parlance, were killing it. The audience was screaming for more. So, Paul, waiting in the wings to go on, held up his index finger to the guys indicating one more song. These guys launched into Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall. The audience went insane with joy and sang along and it was incredible. As I often do, I watched everything that evening. The crowd, the band, and most notably Paul Revere and his band. Waiting in the wings, they kept looking from these three guys out to the Continue reading Mastery vs Personality
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Email Angela here: angeladurden[at]gmail[dot]com Challenges are not bad in and of themselves. Some can be, true. But others are opportunities from improvements, and when met make us better people adding high value to the communities in which we live, the customer which we serve, and the businesses which we grow. I am tired of people complaining about things that are not real problems. Such as: Waiting in a line a little longer than expected to get a hamburger. Someone who didn’t set the alarm clock and overslept raging against other drivers as if his being late is their fault. Traffic jams that happen everyday at the same time. Accusing people of rubbernecking when they are only slowing to safely pass an accident and rescue workers. Here’s an old poem that sums up the challenge of our own attitude. I’ve always loved it. It Continue reading Challenges are not bad
Friends send links to success stories and the first thing I do is begin a negative questioning my own path. Have I not been working hard enough? Am I simply untalented? Shall I quit now? I am my own worst enemy. Why I do I do this? Why do I assume the worst about myself? Why do I always assume failure is imminent? Is it easier to expect certain failure than to embrace possible success? It seems so. So I examined my emotional response to success and found an interesting. I would be happy with success, but how dare I be happy when [fill in the name of someone else] is not? I brought this up to several people who, surprisingly, said they too had experienced the same thing. I asked, “Do you find that this person you’re so worried about, would they be happy for you to make a success of something?” Continue reading Subtexts-Part Two: My Own Worst Enemy
Friends have been sending me a link that tells the story about a guy “you’ve never heard of”, but seems to live in some northern, cold, European country (where the furniture is sleek), and who worked his tail off (as well he should), and for the past twenty years has written ALL the worlds biggest hits. First of all, no, he has not written all the worlds biggest hits, though he has written quite a few. Okay. Second of all, yay for him. I would love that to happen to me, too. It’s called monetizing. By now, though, you know me. So when I get to reading such a story I also get to thinking about the subtext and I wonder why my friends are sending it to me. Do they want me to think that with hard work and application to my fledgling talent, there could go I? Did Continue reading Subtexts-Part One: Should I Give Up?
Get the book by Angela K. Durden by Clicking Here Email Angela here: angeladurden[at]gmail[dot]com Of all the people I know well, the vast majority are in business for themselves. They are strategizing. They are working the details out. They are pivoting. They are all spending their own money on building something bigger, more awesome, and that could potentially end up hiring other people. And they are all wondering, “Will this work?” And “What if it doesn’t work?” Nobody knows. But every large corporation you see out there in the world, each and every one of them, all began with the above scenario. Somebody said, “I have an idea. I know it’s crazy, but, what if we…” Take an existing technology. Find a problem. Use the technology to fix it. It’s called disruption. And in disruption, entrenched parties always complain, and whine. “My business is being hijacked.” They even will use the Continue reading I know it’s crazy: Find a problem
Anyone in power is there by virtue of two things. One: The people entrust them with doing what’s best. Or, two: Brutal application of force of law. Power to the people is not an idle concept. That being said, in the music business, the system that now exists came to be in bits and pieces. Each bit, each piece, was put in place at various times. Some were put there to protect content creators and were welcomed by them. Most were put in place and brutally shoved down the throat of content creators with spoonsful of sugar, i.e., false promises. And when the people have had enough, then the people take the power back. That is happening now in the music business. And what do we see when the people attempt to control their own property? We see the deep pockets frantically — oh, yes, I use the word frantically Continue reading Spoonsful of Sugar
The big question is: Why do people get so upset when their song isn’t chosen? Very simple. One: The songwriter think of this song as their baby, and nobody likes it when their baby is ignored. Being ignored implies ugly, and nobody thinks their baby is ugly and they’ll fight you if you say so.** One logic: The songwriter may believe it’s their baby. It isn’t. It is product and inventory to those who are really in the business. Two: The songwriters are pinning all their hopes for financial solvency on getting that song placed. They’re already planning the mansion they’re gonna buy after the cars are paid off, the 401k is funded, and the kids’ college funds have been settled. Two logic: The songwriters don’t know much about the business. If you think the economy is bad in the industry you work in, then you can be double-damn sure Continue reading MUSIC SUPERVISORS: Ugly baby? How DARE you, sir?
Okay, so the music supervisor is trying to keep his head above the flood while looking out for that perfect drop of water. Does the music supervisor have time to reply in a personal fashion to your submission? The down and dirty answer is: No. (Granted, automatic replies could be employed. Maybe something that says: This is an automated reply letting you know your submission has been received. Please be advised that we will listen to it and that if it is chosen for consideration we will be in touch.) Nevertheless, you wait. And you wait. And you wait. And days, weeks, months go by; you wait more. And you never hear from the music supervisor. And you think…what? Naturally, you think he hates you. Naturally, you think he doesn’t want you to succeed. Naturally. But that would not be the case because he has no reason to be invested Continue reading MUSIC SUPERVISORS: FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS.
The previous blog set forth the challenge: How to get the attention of music supervisors who place music in movies and television shows. As noted, I’ve been in pitch sessions before, but Paul Logan, music supervisor for a network, had a logical way of explaining why he needed what he needed, how to gauge if a song fit his specific parameters, what his responsibility toward you is (and that he will keep it), and how to get his attention. He gave us a lot of specifics for his network that may not apply to other networks, or movies. So, I will not cover those. Instead, I will tell you what you, and me, and other music creators look like from where he sits. Imagine you’re on a dry Texas road. You look around and there is not much of anything. You are alone. You and the road, bushes growing in Continue reading MUSIC SUPERVISORS: And the beat goes on…and on…and on…
So you want to place your music in movies and on the television no matter where it is watched these days. And you come up with a song that is awesome. What do you do? Why, naturally you blast out that song via email and social media, and hand out CDs and jump drives to everybody in the music business, everybody who says they are in the business, everybody who says they know somebody in the business, and all of their brothers, mothers, sisters, fathers, uncles, spouses, ex-whatevers, and next door neighbors. You say some version of the following: “Here is a song that will make us a ton of money. Nothing like it…ever. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, will like it. It fits in every show (and I can show you how!) and it works for every character (and I can show you how!) and it will make your Continue reading MUSIC SUPERVISORS: EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME
The most precious thing anyone has in their possession is time. Once it is gone, there is no getting it back. Anybody who plays fast and loose with my time is soon persona non grata — an unwelcome person. So, here you are. Getting into the music business, or so you say. And you want to “write a song” with someone, you know, collaborate, baby, make some magic happen, write that next big worldwide hit. You find yourself mixing with “music people”, but they won’t give you the time of day. Or, if they do, they ask questions you don’t have answers to? What do you do? What. Do. You. Do? Take offense? Cop an attitude? Make stuff up? Throw around street slang about “it being your time to be on”? Strut around like you’re the cock of the walk and every hen in the house should be happy to Continue reading You want my WALLET?
Troy Carter, Lady Gaga’s former manager and mogul-in-the-making, said music can be used to sell everything…except music. Music gets attention on products and services, and motivates a buyer to purchase. But how do you sell music? Sure, it’s the song, of course. But fans don’t just buy songs. They buy the experience of the song as sung by the artist they care about for one reason or the other. Artist, what experience do you bring to the listener that will make them a fan that will buy more of your songs and stuff? Think about it. Plan marketing accordingly.
The audience will fill in the blanks and readers will read between the lines in ways more powerful than we creators could imagine. Let us, creators, allow our listeners and readers opportunity by giving them an awesome framework upon which to throw themselves. Let us, creators, allow them to delve into themselves and discover their motivations, thoughts, powers, conscience, conscious, and reason for being. Let’s not tell them who they are, but let them discover it.
“Angela, there comes a time when you just have to put your foot in it. When you have to say I’m doing it and then do it.” I nodded my head in appreciation because that’s what I’ve been doing these last two years with the music business, writing songs, learning music theory, working on and finishing novels, meeting and greeting, and so, so much more. And this year, 2014, will see me stomping harder than before. I listened to my friend because I’ve seen his struggles the last few years. He, too, is in the music business; has been most of his life, and wearing many hats: Artist, musician, performer, manager, teacher, composer, lyricist, and collaborator. Technology and other changes and economy issues, over which no one has control, made my friend take a hard look at his situation. That hard look made him say the above quoted statement. But Continue reading Put Your Foot In It: Part One
START: Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-0101 (11:02 Ante Meridian Earth-time) Mother ship launch successful. Broke free from gravity forty minutes after zero hour. Future readers of this Condo Log will conclude correctly: Zero hour was at nine ante meridian. (If a reader did not conclude this, then I must wonder if they are familiar with music at all. But I shall save that for private musings in my second memoir.) The Team worked hard in Star Date 6789. There were glitches, missed steps, and stumbles. But, as all excellent teams do, they did not quit, they did not cry Uncle. Instead, they worked hard to put their ship in order, outfit it for the journey, and got themselves in prime shape ready to go to infinity and (dare I say it?) beyond in the next 365 days. But what will by our infinity? What will be our beyond? As my Continue reading Condo Log. Star Date: 6790-0101
“With this system and these products, you too can be [fill in the blank].” “In this business you will meet fine people who want you to be successful.” Every multi-level marketing company there is uses the exact same key phrases when it comes to enticing you to grow your own business, develop a strong downline, make lifelong and true friends, and become financially independent. The above are but two. Through the years I’ve looked at several of those whose products I loved. But the interesting thing is this: None of the business models actually work for the majority of those involved. You see, there’s all that fine print that somehow you didn’t see when you signed up. I truly wanted only to sell the products. When I came up with interesting and profitable ways to do it, I was told I couldn’t, that it “wasn’t allowed.” Oh, that fine print Continue reading The Curse of the Multi-Level Marketing Mentality
http://www.hulu.com/#!watch/62945 Here is the link to watch this documentary. You may need to copy and paste this into your browser. As of this date (December 14, 2013) this link worked. If it does not work for you no matter what you try, email me at a n g e l a d u r d e n @ m s n dot com (don’t put any spaces in the email address) and tell me it doesn’t work and I’ll find another that does and refresh this page.
Are you building yours? Are you plugged into one? Is it important? Yes, it is important. Just yesterday evening I was feeling as if everything I’ve been doing, not just the past three years, but this last year, and heck, these last twenty-three years, has been a huge waste of time. That all I’ve done is make a bunch of big mistakes that will bite me in the butt. Then I had a meeting this morning and I read a Facebook post before I went. The Facebook post was by a man who was feeling down in the dumps about business and the future of it. I could feel his pain. But he cracked wise and made me laugh. I let him know that I did, yes indeed, laugh out loud — not LOL, but laugh OUT LOUD — at the funny he made. His reply was that he was Continue reading My Community
Many people live alone and are quite content to do so, especially creatives. Their minds never stop, they are doing and doing (sometimes at non-conventionlal hours). Sometimes the people around them may not get the attention they need if they’re in the same space. I’m getting side-tracked. What the title suggests is that creatives should not isolate themselves so much that they cease taking in new ideas and information. Thus put in new input and your output will benefit.
Big buzz doesn’t make the money. One-hit wonders proved that. You want to know why most one-hit wonders are one-hit wonders? Paperwork wasn’t done correctly. Everybody was blowing and going, man, thinking the money would just somehow magically disperse itself into the right pockets in the right proportions. Hahahaha. Not. Who gets what and in what proportion must be documented. One-hit wonders usually weren’t. So, if you get the big buzz, you better have a solid business plan that comes after it. Big buzz is something to build on, it is not the money maker itself. Specialization is the music business will make you go broke all day long. Diversify your offerings. SESAC, BMI, ASCAP, and SoundExchange are necessary in order to collect royalties. It is a complicated explanation that I won’t go into here other than to say this: If you want to collect money from radio airplay and Continue reading Big Buzz Doesn’t Make the Money
“I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.” Have you ever heard that? Forbes magazine just had an article about that concerning the Madeline books. Remember those? The cute little Parisian girl and her adventures? I loved those. But the author died many years ago and left everything to his wife and daughter. The wife is now dead. The daughter had three sons and they all own little bits of this and that and now… Oh, it’s a mess. I won’t even go into it, but you can read all about it here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/11/27/madeline-and-the-family-business-2/ The daughter said she doesn’t know what to do, so she’s done nothing. And the problem is getting worse because of her inaction. How many of us live like that every day. We are confronted with something confusing on which we must decide, but because we are overwhelmed with that lack of understanding, we Continue reading So, I did nothing.
I have so many projects going that, if you saw the wall in my office, you’d just say whoa. Books. Songs. Movie and TV stuff. A software company start-up. All moving forward into finished or pitchable states. Most of these I’m working on with others, such as song collaborators and business partners. I once had a man tell me I should finish something before I started something else. I was incredulous. I told him if I did as he advised, nothing would ever get done. He was very used to starting a project and finishing it, then being assigned another by a boss. He didn’t understand that his boss was just like me. He thought of projects, worked on them, then sent them out to others so they could do their part. If he didn’t have a boss like that, then he wouldn’t have a job. I think of my Continue reading Shuttlecocks in Flight and Marching Armies
Ask any car salesperson and they will tell you: They don’t like professional tire kickers. They don’t like professional tire kickers because they waste the salesperson’s and the dealership’s time. These tire kickers go so far as to drive a hard bargain. They make the salesperson and F&I people believe they would buy today…if only the numbers were right. But professional tire kickers lie. They never had any intention of buying a car. It’s all in the game for them. The numbers will never be right. In the music business there are a lot of professional tire kickers. I come from a long history of being in business for myself. I went out and knocked on doors to get my first customers. When they hired me to do something, I did it good and I did it in a timely manner. My customers were not left hanging, wondering where and Continue reading Tire Kickers, Crickets, and Definitives
I hear it all the time. “Angela, you know everybody and everybody knows you. You’re everywhere, all the time! How do you find the time?” While it is true that I do go out for meet-and-greets, and schedule coffee meetings where we can have deeper chin wags, it is not true that’s all I do. I had a meeting yesterday with Carlos and Guillermo. Couple of young fellas who have plans and are also out there making it happen. I knew I was going to get along just fine with them when to open up our meeting one of them said while the other nodded, “We read your blog and said to ourselves oh, we have to meet her!” Anyone who is moved in a positive manner by anything I write is a-okay by me. So the conversation went very well. We three enjoyed ourselves. Then we got to talking Continue reading This is my Village
I have a question for you. Let’s say you have a bunch of customers. And let’s say they all owe you money (which is good because that means you’re selling something, right?) But, let’s further say that MOST don’t pay properly and thus are behind and causing you a paperwork nightmare and you now can’t pay your bills. Okay? Okay. So then let’s further say that this goes on month after month and year after year. Okay? Okay. Is this what you then say? “Hey, I’m billing $XX and only getting $X or less, and I’m okay with that. Carry on as you will, customer of mine.” You have answered no. I know you have because it doesn’t make sense. Yet, the music business operates on this very same principle. Are you okay with that? I’m not. And I’m working on a fix. Stay tuned.
Labels: Labels should have physical distribution already set up, as well as other deals in place where your music may play (such as radio). 360 deals are common, but unlike not too many years ago, these are now much more realistic, but you should not sign with a label just because they offer you a deal. Take a copy of the contract with you, and see an attorney. Run the numbers mentioned in the contract. Understand your deliverables to them, and their deliverables to you. You are not becoming an employee of the label, and the label does not work for you. The contract formalizes a working agreement for a certain period of time. Labels can own the master recordings and monetize that particular version of your song. NOTE: These days, labels do not develop artists. You are on your own on that. Remember, you are You, Inc. Labels want Continue reading Labels, Managers, Publishers: What Are Their Roles in Your Career?