Everybody will tell you that to be successful, you find a need and fill it. So, yeah. I did that. Of all things, in the music business. How I found that need was because it was my own. Pure frustration at the lack of organization or a common basis for documentation and communication within a mature industry was anathema to me. I came up with a simple, technology based method to improve both those and, possibly, save an industry. Big thoughts these were, but I had them nonetheless. What everybody doesn’t tell you is that just because a need is defined and the method to fill it is offered, does not in any way mean others will use it immediately. So, the long view comes into play. The long view takes patience and faith. The long view is not easy. I can think of others with a long view. Churchill Continue reading Talk about a fearsome journey
A young man and woman discuss their expectations about promises made to them. Will our young man see the light? Will our young woman convince him of his worth? Stay tuned for the next exciting installments of “What Is He Drinking?”
What true sacred cows exist in the music business are few and far between, yet there are many who are calling themselves that and fooling a lot of people. One asks about the newest sacred cow on the block — Aggregators. Are they, in point of fact, the new pyramid schemes wherein a vast majority of the power and money flows to the top with some coins trickling down to keep the underlings from screaming too loudly? Are they playing fast and loose with others’ properties, money, careers, and, carried to its logical conclusion, their lives? As with all pyramid schemes, there are levels of earning potential. Those potential levels are held out to newbies as accessible if one does things the approved way. In truth, these levels are not accessible. As the old saying in the music business goes, “It isn’t who Continue reading The New Pyramid Scheme
Having read the previous blog, let’s get into it. Your hanky is handy, right? There are a few select investors and international companies whose money is tied up in selling magic snake oil to content creators. What is that snake oil? Let’s see if we can ascertain that from these sample headlines, shall we? “CDs ARE DEAD! ALBUMS ARE PASSE!” “STREAMING IS GOD! SINGLES ARE KING!” When I read an article with those conclusions, I ask myself if that writer has been hired to enthusiastically encourage those beliefs or if he is a dupe. Moving on. Suffice it to say, I am not the only one calling BS on those headlines. The problem though, is something I run into time after time after time of consultation sessions with artists, DIY/Indies, and singer/songwriters, and when talking with other content creators/owners/marketers in the music business: Content creators and performers sign up and upload everything without reading the contracts. “But, Angela,” they whine, Continue reading Which are you? Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?
Almost four years ago I began researching how to make money in the music business. My friend said, “Oh, it’s easy to make a million in the music business. First, you start with a two million…” Can I get a bada-bing-bada-boom drum roll, please? The problem is: he wasn’t far from wrong. Which of course was a conclusion and methodology I could not accept since I did not have one million, much less two. Anyway, as I was looking at income streams in the music business, everybody — and by everybody I mean everybody — kept telling me that the future was now: Spinning, physical media, and albums are out. Streaming, singles, and downloads are in. There’s one thing about me you should know: I do not make a business decision based upon what everybody says. So I began digging into the music business and asking: Who. What. When. Where. And though listed Continue reading Which is being sold: Songs or Delivery System?
When one writes their memoir, one writes their own personal journey. Through the stories one challenges their personal assumptions, either disproving or verifying the reasons for the path taken by them. My memoir will soon be out, so I’m quite familiar with this process. But when it comes to a business book, especially one in an industry that is undergoing rapid changes and entrenched players are invested in keeping the status quo, a writer cannot rely on anything any one person says. I’m writing such a book now. I’ve started with generally accepted methodologies and reasons for using them and have spent the last two and a half years challenging each and every one of those before anything is written about it in the book. All facts found by or given to me have been treated as opinion and challenged. Which were disproved? Which were verified? Which need updating? Why is this Continue reading Challenge and Disprove or Verify
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
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
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 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
If you are the music artist, there are certain things you must do if you want to make a profit. One: Know your songs very well in order to – Two: Be able to perform songs live as you – Three: Keep in time with the band and can – Four: Form a connection with your audience that – Five: Will sell merch, CDs, and future tickets. Got that? Of course, here’s the thing, to do all productive movement you must be organized. In order to be organized, you must know what you want to accomplish and how you must accomplish it. Labels, managers, and publishers no longer hold hands. Do you know what each of these do? I’ll explain that in the blog post entitled Labels, Managers, Publishers: What Are Their Roles in Your Career? You are not special. Get over yourself. There are plenty more music artists with Continue reading You, Incorporated