Arrogance, Is It Crippling The Growth Of Indie Artists?

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!! I came across this blog today and HAD to post it (mind you – with some editing of some of the wordage used). …………. Yes it is direct, confronting and ………. exactly what some people need to hear.

I call myself an ‘old skool producer; who will tell a client if a song is good  – or if it isn’t – similarly in our business advisory service – if an artist isn’t doing what they need to do, or doing it wrong – I’ll tell them ……. hat to me is some of what they pay me for in those roles (to be truthful)….BUT the number of musicians who wont take input (or see the truth in the mirror) and say “Im doing everything I need to do” but are still broke, or leaving the business  – astounds me.
in a previous blog i made the statement  -” Presuming the talent is there – if a musican/artist treats their music career with the same intensity, hours of commitment (outside of gigs and practice),  to all tasks needed, as any other self employed person – they will more than likely make a reasonable living (or better) from their business”.

Anyway enjoy the article by Sahpreem A. King ……..- if it is a bit cofronting and you think you want to do something about it – maybe contact us to see if we can help (check the website for contact details pavmusic.com)

Cheers till next time

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I get sick and tired of artists telling me that they are already doing the things necessary for success, when in fact; most of them haven’t the foggiest idea what music business success looks like. When you don’t know, then your objective should be humility, and within that state of humility you will allow yourself to be open to not only constructive criticism, but also opportunity.

Nowadays, a lot of artists have grown accustomed to writing cheques with their mouths that their asses can’t cash. Moreover, artist arrogance is not a new phenomenon it has existed ever since the people who cut the cheques told average musicians that they were superstars. Nevertheless, artists like Kanye “I am Michelangelo, I am Walt Disney, I am Steve Jobs” West have gotten more and more famous for being high off their own supply (rants) rather than their music. Sure it is arguable that Kanye West is in fact a genius; however, at least he has a string of hit records to build his argument on. As for you….not so much! The first rule of being a drug dealer is never get high off of your own supply, but many artists who aren’t even qualified to be Kanye’s assistance’s assistant’s assistant rapper seem to believe that overconfidence is the recipe for the day…not the case!

My colleagues and I (other music industry professionals) find it quite comical, yet tragic that so many unsigned or indie level artists are so overconfident that they fail to FOCUS ON THE BASICS LIKE BUILDING A FAN BASE THAT DOESN’T CONSIST OF “LIKES” AND “RETWEETS”, perfecting their live performance, or better still, making music that is relevant and breathtaking.

I have never met a genius who had to tell you he or she was a genius, but never exhibited the actions to substantiate the claim. Nobody likes a smart ass or a know-it-all, which begs the question, if you know everything there is to know about making it in the music industry, why are you are broke and unknown?

Case and point, I asked an indie artist at a recent music conference, what I could do to help him further his music career; the artist looked at me as if I had said something offensive about his mother. His reply, “I’m already on my grind, and my team and me have started a movement.” ??????????
Okay, if your team is on the grind and you’ve started a movement, then where are all of your fans? Oh, my bad, your fans are only in cyber space, which makes them as fake as the cubic zirconia chain you are wearing!

During another conversation, a female artist told me that she wanted to find a manager that could help her advance her career. When I inquired about the current state of her music career, she told me that she hadn’t recorded any songs that were original, she didn’t have an artist website, and she wasn’t going to change her image or sound in order to fit into what the music industry deems commercially pleasing.
What sound, could she have possibly been referring to if she had never recorded an original song? What image? She didn’t have an artist website, or even a video for that matter, and as for her style, well, I ask again what image?
SHE WAS 100% DELUSIONAL!
In addition, she has nothing to manage!!! therefore finding a manager is a waste of her time and energy.

Examples like the ones above are why it is of paramount importance that artists today take a good look in the mirror and self assess their lives, goals, and music careers.

I expect that artists will self-assess with the same biases that have been the primary causes of their unfounded arrogance. Be that as it may, I have provided an artist checklist that every unsigned artist should use as a career reference point.

Warning, if you do not fit this criterion, you better get your act together and eat a couple slices of humble pie, before you are told to your face that your talent and arrogance don’t match.

  1. An artist website that offers your original music for sale, and EPK (Electronic Press Kit), contact information, tour/show dates.
  1. A presence on the three major social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with actual fan engagement—-if you have 100K followers, but 6 retweets, everyone knows your fans are FAKE.
  2. Two or more live shows per month—-where REAL human fans show up to see you play.
  3. A Music video—-not shot on an iPhone.
  4. YouTube videos that have a “Call to Action” like go to my website and buy my song.
  5. Original high-quality music—-no covers—-no Mixtapes.
  6. Endorsements by other already successful artists—-collaboration or opening act.
  7. Press—-magazine interviews, radio interviews, television—-avoid blogs, or internet radio—-they’re both desperate for content.
  8. Music reviews from reputable sources.
  9. Merchandise i.e. buttons, stickers, CD’s, digital download cards or bracelets.
  10. Logo with a consistent branding message.
  11. A sterling reputation as an artists and a person.
  12. Business and marketing plan.
  13. Ongoing Music business education.
  14. Professional business etiquette.
  15. A knack for discovering music career opportunities.

At minimum, these are the things that attract reputable professionals. If you want to avoid the sharks, snakes, con men, and two bit thieves of the music industry then tighten up your game. There are a plethora of services online that can steer you in the right direction, so roll up your sleeves and get to work! Before I go, I imagine that most artists won’t make it to the end of this article because they are too busy playing make believe.”

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mmmmm!!!! So how did you go on the list? how did you go reading the article? feel confronted and maybe a reassessment of your plans and activity are needed???

If you need assistance with your musical career, check out the info (and a few clients testimonies) over at http://www.pavmusic.com/artistdevelopment– ….. And note the current discount offering available to arrangements booked before 31 October or spaces fill.

Cheers again

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The Power Of Asking

I have always had a saying that I have used for years myself and give to artists as part of my mentoring/advisory work. It goes like this …

If the worse you can get is a ‘no’ and you can treat that no gracefully, with respect and not burn a bridge over it – why not ask the question?

This comes to getting gigs, getting help, and even, getting paid. It has never let me down yet. The “yes’s” have always outweighed the “no’s” – sometimes delayed, sometimes in a different way, sometimes a friend was made rather than a business associate – but it works. I have also observed over the years that most “no’s” where not a personal but from a circumstance reason (no money, already planned, didnt suit etc) or, there wasn’t compatibility and it would have been a hassle situation anyway.

I am constantly asked by artists I work with or have befriended about the amount of free gigs they are playing, not getting enough (but still saying yes, etc) – so when I came across this by Meagan Widdes – I had to post it to the blog.

It is important you are viable, can accept (and give) a no gracefully and build your worth as an artist and a business. If you need help in this area – contact us.

Hope you enjoy the read.

Cheers till next time,

Ian

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Have you ever played a gig then stood around wondering and waiting to see how much you are going to get paid? Often to end up not getting paid at all? Have you ever left a gig swearing that that was the last free gig you’re ever going to play, but it wasn’t? Why?

Well, because the truth is, we love to play music. We love it so much that we actually would play and often do for free. But this is how slowly but surely, one-by-one musicians die. They decide to focus on their real job and play just for fun. Eventually, they give it up altogether.

Over time I have developed and grown my skills in just “asking” for what I want, need, and deserve. You would be surprised at how easy it actually is once you get past the initial fear. Furthermore, it is amazing how often people say YES! I use to be prideful and what I thought was humble at the same time about asking for money due to me. I didn’t know how to go about making sure I got paid for a gig I was going to play, or for teaching music or any other number of drumming opportunities. Well not anymore!

Maybe it happened when I reached the ripe age of thirty and was sick of being BROKE! I learned quickly no one was just going to offer me money because I was polite enough to wait my turn so to speak. Now I flipped way over to the other side, and ask for everything I want. Sometimes it even sounds insane as it comes out of my mouth some of the things I ask for, but crazy enough I almost always get it. The times I have gotten rejected, were usually a blessing in disguise, and barely bruised my ego at all.

The truth is, that…

1) Most people do have a giving nature, and want to help or compensate you justly

2) Sometimes people don’t know what they should pay you until you tell them

3) If they are trying to be greedy or shady and not pay you, that’s even more reason to be strong and demand your money

4) Ask, and Ye’ shall (most of the time) receive!

If you have enough confidence in what you’re asking, (which comes from being fair and knowing you deserve it) and use the right “tone” (nice, friendly but with authority), people will know it is the right thing to do. They’re subconscious will pick up on the pattern of doing what you are powerfully, carefully “suggesting”. The power of suggestion is very powerful and is worth really studying deeply.

Having a professional price sheet is a great way to show you know what you’re doing, and gives your client more assurance than just verbally spitting out a number. Your price sheet is going to be more for the gigs that you are trying to get as the band manager and that you have to give a bid for, than a hired gun situation that usually is more set based on experience, how much they love you and their budget.

If you are in the field of playing weddings, corporate gigs, high end venues, parties and major events, you will want to have a price sheet. Having a Price sheet in a professional package will allow you to charge more money, secure a much higher closing rate (get a lot more high paying gigs to hire you), and create a clear understanding of exactly what is included in the price and what isn’t.
Such a package includes: How many hours you will play, what equipment will you bring, are they going to feed you etc. You can email it to your potential clients, or you can bring on a consultation. When you lay it all out on paper it lets the client really see all the value they are getting, which makes them feel more comfortable writing you a cheque (for $3,000 say) than you just giving them the price out loud with no explanation of how you came up with the number. 

You are an important part of economic circulation. Musicians have one of the most important jobs in the world. Not to mention, the most difficult. Mindset is an integral part of success. You have to let go of any ideas or programming that feeds the ego a romantic story of struggle and sacrifice to allow yourself to be a well-paid, respected entrepreneur, businessman or woman and most of all professional musician.

Allow people to compensate you justly. Even more, demand it. There is no pride or reward in shrinking. This being said, there’s no pride or reward in greed or self-indulgence either. The sky is the limit, but be realistic and fair about what you’re asking for. Always over deliver, take pride in your playing, work ethic, and yourself. You can have any amount you want but you need to be willing to deliver an equally valuable product or service.

Make sure you are more than happy to explain to the client why the price is what it is. Are you paying the band? Are there travel expenses, rehearsal? These are okay to list; your truck payment is not.

 Another very common mistake is discounting yourself right after you quote your price. I learned this from my friend and mentor Ed Rush. As he was explaining not to do this, I realized that I did it all too often. They would ask how much and I would state the price. And then before they said anything, I discounted it substantially. Don’t make this mistake. State your price and then shut-up. Stay silent until they agree or object. If they agree, congratulations! Don’t smile so big that they think you pulled one over on them.
If they object, negotiate. Practice quoting big prices with a straight face to friends, family, or in the mirror. Pick wisely who you share with. People get fearful of others success. Unless in a safe environment, they can knock you down or discourage you in a second without even meaning to you.

In conclusion, sales are an essential piece of the puzzle. Educate yourself. Sales make or break your dream career. Don’t be cheap on your way to success, invest in learning what you can about marketing and sales to further your musical career. Everything is energy including money. If you’re afraid to let it go and circulate, it cannot circulate to you. If you are in fear of lack, you’ll get stuck there.

Most importantly, practice, practice, practice. You will never feel “ready” or “qualified” to start asking for money you deserve. If you do feel totally comfortable, it’s time to raise your prices! You always get a little rush of nerves before quoting your price, but that’s our little secret, don’t let them know that. Play it cool.

It is every musicians right and responsibility to get paid for the unique, and precious gift that is music that we bring to this world.”

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