It’s true that industry professionals and artist mind sets could not be farther apart. They are on two totally different sides of the game, yet working together as a team. All industry people probably receive anywhere from 15 to 200 emails or calls a week from indie artists wanting to work with them or get their advice. This is not an exaggeration. Most of these calls/emails are unfortunately misguided and are not going to get the artist anywhere just based on their approach. As an indie artist I am sure this must be incredibly frustrating… constantly sending out emails to industry people and not receiving replies. You’ve been told that to be proactive you have to mail, call, email, and send presents to industry representatives to get their attention. This is NOT true… let me help you out here.
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Entries in music career (59)
How Middle Class Musicians Navigate the Nodes on the Network: Topspin Media's CEO Ian Rogers Says "It Just Takes a Long Time"
I recently asked Ian Rogers, CEO of TopSpin Media, about the role of the press in music careers in the new era of the music industry. Topspin Media is a direct-to-fan marketing and retail service, so Ian observes a lot of bands stepping through the stages of development from unknown to known. Here’s what he had to say:
I am a songwriter. I typically work from home using a small studio set up and have been fortunate enough to have written, co-written or produced many songs that have been commercially released.
What am I waiting for? As a musician you live in a hurry up and wait world. You hurry up to travel to a gig and then you wait three hours to hit the stage. You hurry up and make contact with a booking agent and then you wait 3 months for them to get back to you. If your lucky you hurry up and record and then you wait for your label to release it six months later. Plain and simple, it sucks! One of the main reasons why artists don’t have success is that they wait on others to do what only they can do.
So much talk about the success, or lack of, making it in the new music business industry. But it really comes down to treating your musician career as a business. Let’s look at some statistics. History shows that…
Logic would suggest that the most talented musicians would get the best work. The better you play the more people will want to hire you, right?
The validity of university music programs - especially the ones that focus their curriculum exclusively on performance and completely ignore business, entrepreneurship, or career-building - seems to be predicated on this talent myth. Become the best and you’ll succeed. Why else would you pay $100,000 for a fancy conservatory education?
But we all know the truth. We’ve all seen overwhelming evidence that the most talented musicians do not, necessarily, have the most success as working musicians.
How’s that fair? What’s the deal?
Balancing the different facets of being a musician, along with our social, personal and professional lives can be very difficult. How do we do it, and do you have anything useful you can share with others?
Go on, admit it! You are probably nurturing some kind of a world domination plan in the back of your mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to play to a huge room filled with people that came specifically to see you? How amazing would it be if your music could take you around the world? What if you managed to find people from all corners of the world that connected with you and your music?
I’d venture to say that almost all bands start by playing cover songs. After all, what better way to get your chops together than by emulating something already tried and true - i.e. a hit song. The problem comes when a band or artist begins to get popular from playing cover songs, yet has aspirations of one day playing their own music. Unless you’re extremely clever right out of the box, chances are that your self-composed material doesn’t get the crowds going the way the cover material does. This means that as soon as you begin to play one of your own, that hot enthusiastic crowd suddenly goes ice cold, making you feel like your song just isn’t cutting it.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about the music industry, and particularly the new independent music industry. This is partly because I am an independent musician, and partly because I write a blog on music biz stuff. I’ve also got a natural interest in patterns and systems (and the music industry is one). I like watching things emerge, and I like the ideas that people are forced to come out with to try to make a little money in the current climate.
With the present state of the music industry, the chances of landing that entry-level, dream job in the music business is even more difficult than it may have been ten or even five years ago. As an intern in the music business working for companies that may be in the realm of record labels, music publishing, marketing or other types of social media/digital companies, you may be asked to do anything and everything.
One of the reasons we started MusicianWages.com was because of the huge reservoir of unqualified career advice that was being served to musicians online. I usually keep quiet about the charlatanry tips I find online, but I just can’t pass this one up. It displays the characteristics of bad career advice so acutely that I just have to point it out.
The Busking Alchemist
This article dropped onto my reading list this past weekend. Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day. There’s a pair of sentences early in this article that are particularly telling. One of the things that mystifies me about this article is why it continues after this:
It’s a new year and a clear slate is in front of all of us. The turning of the calendar from 2010 to 2011 is an ideal time to set your goals. I see a marked difference between artists who set finite goals and those who do not.
Many of you may have seen a previous version of this article (or another one) on setting goals as they crop up at this time of year.
Ask yourself: Is this the year I want to make a difference for my musical career? And if so – what difference and how?
Think of goal setting as if you were driving in a foreign place - You wouldn’t get where you expect to go without a clear set of directions.
Goal setting is like drawing a map for yourself.
Everyone Is Lying To You On Facebook
In Leena Sowambur’s opinion, social networks are not used for advertising and using Facebook to push information is the wrong way to do it. An artist should not think that people are fans just because they have “liked” the artist’s page.
“Just because you push the information out doesn’t mean you have your fans’ or friends’ attention in fact it is highly likely they are blind to it.” (Read On)
The Science of Becoming a Rock Star
Eric Galen shows how great music careers can be made by relating music to science. He uses charts and physics to explain. Read on for his explanation that can help you take control and steer your music career in the right direction.
“Talk to any successful artist, producer or songwriter, and you’ll discover that each of them struggled at one level until a breakthrough happened and their career took a quantum jump ahead.” (Read On)
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(Updated November 2, 2013)