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We all now have the capability to compete, and eventually DOMINATE our musical landscapes, due to the level playing field the internet and social media have provided. Today, ANYONE can become famous literally overnight. Anyone can obtain and communicate with hundreds-of-thousands of fans, with a budget of $0! What an amazing time and world we exist in today! Possibilities are endless. But how do YOU take full advantage?
Well stick around and I'll show you how!
The Next Level Of Music Distribution - Pt. 1
I Tweeted Jay-Z This Idea and He Used It
Who knew Thriller would end up being the best selling album of all time. There was no way to prepare for its success because nobody saw what was coming. Yet, Michael has not been able to duplicate studio magic he and Quincy had; the artistic "roll" he was on; the total awe and submission of the media; the overwhelming force of his presence or the mesmerizing control he had over millions of fans worldwide. Therefore, even though more powerful than any other entertainer, he never repeated the success of Thriller.
But he could have. Even without all of the magical ingredients that helped him make musical history, he could have used the momentum created by Thriller to sale another 40 million albums. All he had to do was have knowledge of who he sold those 40 million records to. Get it? If Epic Records were smart, they would have gotten the address and phone number of every person who purchased the Thriller album. Do you understand what that could have meant? That means that they would have had the ability to "pre-market" and "pre-sale" Michael's next few albums to 40 million, already satisfied customers!
Whoa! That means they could have sold 40 million plus albums of the next record. The profits would have been bigger too. Why? Since you are not spending dollars on "mass-marketing", you are able to cut your budget in half! You are direct marketing to people who already want your product. Also, if Epic were smart, and they weren't, they could have sold Michael Jackson Merchandise directly to those already addicted fans.
They really screwed up. But you can learn from this example. You can easily "eat well" off your music by doing what Epic, Michael, and every other label has failed to do. Capture the name and email address of every fan that visits your website/page. I know it sounds too simple. I know some of you are doing this already. But are you doing it correctly? Every artist on Myspace should have a bare minimum of 1000 fans that will buy their music. Not Myspace "friends". I'm talking about straight-up fans, the kind that spend money. If you have been on Myspace for two years, you should have 10,000-20,000 real fans. Once you reach 100,000 fans that are willing, at some point, to give you money you will be set! Your focus will be to make music for your fan base, selling to the same fans over & over. It is backwards to start your marketing efforts over every time you get ready to release a project. Why keep looking for new buyers when you can sell to satisfied customers. As a natural effect, your fan base will grow with little effort on your part.
My next article will define the elements and proper steps needed to gain the type of success mentioned above. Please check my posts regularly for Part II of this article.
10 Ways To Know If You Are A Record Label's Ho
By William Johnson (Repost from 2008)
Everyone knows that record labels are infamous for pimping artists. Surprisingly, some artists are in denial concerning this abusive relationship. Following are the "Top 10 Ways" to know if you are a record label's HO:
10. Even though you know the industry is "over glamorized", you still get "starry-eyed" over the label's promise of fortune and fame.
(Similar to when a pimp drops that good mackin' in your precious ear hole.)
9. Even though you are the one making the music, you allow the label to dictate what quality, type, and image of music you will make.
(Similar to a pimp telling a ho how to walk, talk, dress, and act.)
8. Once you become a mega-superstar and have made yourself and the label millions, you still don't believe that you can do it on your own.
(Similar to staying with a pimp, knowing he is nothing without you.)
7. No matter how many times they screw you over, you just say that it's just the nature of the business.
(Similar to saying that your pimp beats you because he loves you.)
6. You sign a record contract that is heavily biased in the label's favor.
(Similar to agreeing to give a pimp all of your money.)
5. After several years as a signed Artist, you still refuse to learn the business.
(Similar to trusting everything a pimp tells you.)
4. After reading this, you still don't understand what I am talking about.
(Similar to a ho being 'in denial' about her lop-sided relationship with her pimp.)
3. After reading this, you start naming all of the obvious positives to being on a record label.
(Similar to a ho verbally defending her pimp.)
2. After reading this, you come to the conclusion that I am just hating on record labels.
(Similar to being a confused, dumb ho.)
1. After reading this, you pursue a record deal harder than ever.
(Similar to being a hopelessly insane dumb ho.)
DEATH of record labels; RISE of MUSIC MARKETING COMPANIES
The Old Record Label Model No Longer Works, So Stop Using It!
If you want to get "real" music money in 2008 you are going to have to man-up, take off your sheep outfit, and STOP looking to see what moves the record labels are making before you take action on your own. The labels have no moves! Period! Why do you think they are cutting deals with sites like Itunes and getting the short end of the stick? Apple has the recording industry by its little baby nuts. If you do not believe me, go do some research on your own. The industry has a plan (more on this later) but it is going to take time for people to accept it; time the labels don't have. However, there are steps that you need to take now.
The old record label model is about to be deconstructed. Totally. So why are you still running your label like a traditional record label. It will cost the majors a fortune to convert to a new model; but not you. This is proof that you may not know what you are doing.
START A MUSIC MARKETING COMPANY:
Record labels see selling and marketing music as one blurred act. They rarely separate the two distinct acts, even though marketing has its own department at most labels. Actually, they do more promoting than marketing (there is a difference) yet, they even approach this task with a "stone age" mentality. The proof: The labels are always last to adopt new technology! So how can it be said that they "still" understand marketing? Their strategy is to sell while holding back promotional dollars hoping the average act is somewhat successful before they properly market and promote that act. This concept is totally hit and miss and has out lived its time.
With a MUSIC MARKETING COMPANY, the objective is to intelligently focus ALL business efforts on Creative Marketing that is centered in brand development. Translation: YOUR IMAGE, IN TODAY'S MARKET, MUST BE THE FORCE THAT PROPELS YOR MUSIC! New, original images. No more Southern thugs; East Coast thugs; West Coast thugs; Alien thugs, etc. No more thugs!
Following are the components you can construct today to start a Music Marketing Company:
$ WEB GEEK/SITE DEVELOPER - This is self explanatory. Someone on your permanent team needs to be constantly updating your Myspace page; website; blogs; and maintaining an overall "web presence" while keeping you up on all the latest geek-ass technology. This is where I need to practice what I preach.
$ FILM MAKER/VIDEOGRAPHER - Another MUST HAVE member on your payroll. In the age of You Tube, you need to constantly be stepping your video-game up a notch. You need to film your live shows, behind the scenes antics, your own music videos, video blogs, and reality show. A camera man as well as a still photographer should be your shadow.
$ WRITER/PR SPECIALIST - You need someone on your team that is actually literate-textin is killin dis kulture- to write your blogs, web content, and most importantly your Press Releases. A capable PR person will get you in countless mags. Maybe on TV.
$ A & R - You can't keep pushing your wack-ass music forever. You need fresh blood. You're going to need someone who has the instincts and ears of a Clive Davis or Berry Gordy. Most likely this won't be you because you are confined by your limited taste in music. Plus, when is the last time you discovered someone and they actually blew up?
$ MARKETING GENIUS - The most important element that you will need is someone who understands marketing on a realistic level. We all have great ideas, but there is a reason why we keep failing at getting our projects off the ground. You must humble yourself and find a person who does marketing for real. This person must understand all of the latest marketing methods online and off-line, and must be able to continuously provide you with ideas that you have not been able to come up with on your own. Marketing is the heart of all money-making endeavors and you must take this seriously, for it is the key to your ultimate success.
THE FIVE KEY ELEMENTS TO MUSIC MARKETING GREATNESS
Profound Strategies = Profound Results
Every so-called marketing expert has his own theories about how you should market your music. Some ideas are surprisingly fresh and new. Most ideas are recycled through the web-marketing universe and delivered to you as the same-old information in a different package. This is why it seems as if everyone is saying the same thing, at times.
Realizing the difficulty present in providing authentic material, I will tap deeper into the well of my creative insight. Intentionally my writings will become increasingly inspirational, and originally profound in their impact. My goal is to become your marketer and writer of preference amidst the rising population of cookie-cutter experts. With that being said, I will briefly approach,what I call...
The 5 Key Elements of Music Marketing Greatness:
#1 Passionate Attitude: Positive thinking is a small part of what is meant. When I speak of Passionate Attitude, I am referring to a deliberate primary "presence" that emanates from a consistent mental state, and dominates every environment you enter. Lack of passion (passion fully exerted) is part of the reason you may be failing in Life. Have fire in your heart directed toward everything you do and everyone you meet. Passion is the fuel of the world's movers-n-shakers. Command attention, to your music, through the magnetism of your passion.
#2 Image Cultivation and Projection: Artists fight me on the point of Image overwhelmingly. I have yet to meet an artist that feels that he or she could use advice on Image. People take Identity personal, and become very defensive about the subject. They all tell me that the problem is marketing, not image. Guess what: Image Projection = Marketing. If you had taken the time required to properly cultivate and project your image, you would not have marketing problems! Say it with me: Marketing Problems = Image Problems. Marketing is supposed to get people excited about your music. What sells music better, or more than, a captivating image? Create an anti-cookie cutter image, worth talking about, and people will pay attention to the music.
Oh, and don't read this and say that marketing problems can be caused by other factors. Duh!
#3 Fame Generation: Most artists work backwards: Attempt to sell records; remain oblivious to Image; chase fame and money. When they should be: Cultivating and projecting image; giving music away for FREE to generate fame; selling music and merchandise once fame is attained. Isn't it harder to get people's hard-earned money when you're unknown? Then why are you working in reverse? Fame creates the countless opportunities that eventually create... MONEY! In the beginning, fame generation should be your primary goal. Plus, getting there is fun!
#4 Marketing Systems: A plan may or may not work. A system, usually, is the parts of your plan that have, actually, worked. Therefore, gather together the strategies that have produced results and discard the rest. All businesses need productive systems in order to flourish. Are you exempt? You must become a serious student of marketing. Instead of reading me, you should be blogging about your "success story". But still read me, of course! Bottom line: read every book, blog, website, and magazine you can find on the subject. Useful information, coupled with your own ideas, can make you a serious marketing force.
#5 Code of Excellence: People don't live by codes anymore. How many people do you know that live by a code of excellence? Most people don't know anyone on a personal level, and that's bad. People live mediocre lives because they strive to be good. Not excellent. If you held your music, and career, to the highest possible standard of Excellence, how much would that sole act increase your chances of becoming wealthy from music. If you remain mediocre or good, what would your chances be? You get out of life, as well as music, what you put in. People who live the lives others dream about live by a code that anyone can adopt. People are just too lazy. Stop being lazy with your life and music. If you want to excel in this business, raise your standards dramatically. Excellence will carry-over into every aspect of life, and people will exalt you for having that one element few people exercise.
This concludes my 5 Key Elements of Music Marketing Greatness.
In the near future, I will expound on each individual element in a separate article.
Chief Keef and Other Chicago Teen Rappers Exploited in Music Industry Experiment
-Will Johnson 9/16/12
Chicago teen rapper, Chief Keef, is in a very unique position. Not only is he at odds with fellow Chicago artist, Lupe Fiasco, he is at the center of an incident concerning the murder of a rival, teen rapper and opposing gang member, Joseph "Jo Jo" Coleman, who was slain September 4 in Chicago's notorious Englewood community. Chief Keef has yet to release anything more than a single, yet he finds himself in "beefs" reserved for artists with two or more albums.
Even more disturbing is that: Chief Keef is just the first guinea pig in the wave of an unprecedented and very destructive experiment that has been hatched in Chicago by some of the major record labels. In complete disregard for Chicago's startling murder-rate and overwhelming social issues, blood-sucking record labels are courting teen, gangster rappers as young as young as 13 years old, by enticing their severely cash-strapped, desperate families with lucrative recording contracts. It is a pimp-type mind game that projects the fantasy of getting out of the ghetto and becoming rich and famous like Lil Wayne and 50 Cent. Never mind that repeatedly projecting these images to the world via records and television is what makes this cycle of death in the black community practically unbreakable. The labels are a reflection of a country that sees the black male as beyond saving. So why not make millions from their inevitable demise.
In what other city are baby, gangster rappers being shoveled up in bunches at a time within a very short period? Chicago has seen a minimum of five young rappers being courted and or signed in 2012 alone: Chief Keef, a Black Disciples street gang member, signed to Interscope Records; Lil Reese, also a Black Disciple, signed to Def Jam; Lil Durk, a Black Disciple, signed to Def Jam; Lil JoJo,(a slain rival of the three previously mentioned), a Gangster Disciple, was reported to be in talks with a major label prior to his murder, and last but not least. . . Lil Mouse, the 13 year old thug rapper who gained national attention when he was filmed with adults holding guns in his video, "Get Smoked".
If this experiment proves successful in Chicago, You Tube born gangsters-in-training in every city in America will flood the radio and television, validating the useless black male stereotype in the minds of people everywhere. The labels are well aware that giving young gang bangers a national platform to promote negative street culture will convince more young black males that being a gangster is glamorous and profitable. You may even get a record deal. The label heads would never exploit vital weaknesses in the children that reside in their communities, but in Black and Latin communities this practice is morally acceptable.
I know a lot of established Chicago producers and artists make the type of music I'm talking about, so my previous points will be automatically dismissed as bullshit by them. However, most of them will not be able to deny my solutions. Remember once upon a time when this thing called Artist Development existed? What if labels went back to using it. Instead of glorifying street life, they could inspire an artist like Chief Keef to talk about how street life has shaped who he is today; why he wants to leave the streets alone; his plan for escaping the streets; and how not having a father made him feel. Remember Tupac? This type of compelling introspection is what separated him from every other "thug" rapper on the planet! The ability to demonstrate great emotional depth is what creates rap legends. Tupac could have discarded his thug image entirely and still would have had the hearts and minds of the streets in captivity. Ultimately, his emotional rawness and vulnerability are what made him a living legend and forever cemented his place in music history. The formula works. And if record labels would focus on widening an artist's emotional "range", we may one day soon see a Tupac caliber artist again.
On a deeper level, if every black, adult male that saw or came into contact with Chief Keef or anyone like him, physically touched him, looked into his eyes and said: "Look, little brother, you are intelligent and capable, and I EXPECT you to do positive and great things in the community. . . I love you." What would happen to this boy's heart and mind? I'll tell you. Because children are hard-wired to live-up-to what adults best expectations of them are, this positive reinforcement, consistently repeated with sincerity, would penetrate his subconscious and cause a conflict within his being. It is extremely difficult to stay negative when you are receiving in abundance the one thing you have been longing for your entire life: fatherly love.
Just imagine for a moment, the power of the above concept. Think about how a boy would feel going from not having a father at all to having hundreds of supportive and positive "back-up" fathers, ALL telling you that they love you and expect you to do better. This mass bombardment of fatherly love would start to heal some of the rage, confusion, and pain that results from abandonment, causing him to psychologically be at war with his chosen lifestyle. See no matter how much money they pay him to portray a gangster image, ALL young boys want nothing more than to be loved and encouraged by a dad. Having this love is not optional, but vital to a boy's natural development and his ability to like himself and others. Even a billion dollars cannot buy back the self love and stages of emotional growth that a boy only has one-shot at as he climbs the ladder from boyhood to manhood. Therefore, he spends a life-time trying to compensate for missing emotional "tools" that MUST be provided during his early growth stages. The ones who never learn to compensate for their lack of a father die on the inside, and eventually the outside. When I see Chief Keef, I will tell him that I expect the best from him and that I love him. Will you?
10 Reasons Negativity Will Always Exist In Music
#1 Music started off as a tool used for spiritual practice. Once it was stripped of its original use (healing and spiritual rituals) and made a form of entertainment, music's positive powers were lessened.
#2 We are encouraged and cultivated to function primarily through our lower nature. Therefore, we are susceptible to music that caters to our sex drive, and other lower nature drives.
#3 Music is not about mastery of the craft anymore. It is about marketing schemes.
#4 We allow record labels, who don't care about people, to control what music we listen to.
#5 As long as poverty exists financially, mentally, and emotionally, people's music will reflect that.
#6 America's energy is more negative than positive, so music reflects that fact.
#7 As long as we continue to under-educate our children, yet allow them to have record deals,the music will remain childish and uncouth.
#8 Elite Social Scientists and Psychologists realize movies and music are invasive and insidious methods for influencing people's subconscious minds. Therefore, negative images and sounds can be passed-off as fact in music and movies.
#9 We have been conditioned into believing foolishness sells. In essence, people buy what is made available to them.
#10 Throughout time, 85% of the people in any society have always been unenlightened. Unenlightened people are subject to make unenlightened music.
Tell me what you think.
10 Mental/Emotional Flaws Artists Need To Eliminate
#1 Low-self-esteem: Most beef between male artists is the result of low-self-esteem. Why would a confident man care about someone "dissing" him? Why would a man, secure in himself, attack another man? Many female entertainers want to be famous so they can feel good about themselves. Everyone likes to be adored. The ones with the lowest esteem desire it most.
#2 Ignorance: In 2008 and beyond, there is no reason for signing a bogus recording contract. If music is now understood to be a business, then why are artists - even major ones - still getting shafted? No excuses.
#3 Lack-of-Drive: If one had relentless drive, even an idiot could become successful. If the passion for what you do isn't dripping off you, you could use some work.
#4 Desperation: This is why the labels are able to screw you over. They know you are desperate for money and lust the power induced by fame. I know what it's like to need to put food on the table, but until you master this weakness the industry will never change.
#5 Greed: Industry types also play on Artists' greed. The promise of fortune and fame blinds you, causing you to act hastefully and foolishly. Every one needs to "check" that weakness.
#6 Fear: Fear causes you to believe that your chances at wealth and success are limited. Fear has its place in our survival, but is the most dangerous of all emotions, for it hinders your ability to separate reality from falsehood.
#7 Procrastination: Why haven't you done all of the things that are vital to your success? No matter what the reasons are, procrastination can mean the difference between super-achievement and being a loser.
#8 Selfishness: The labels have power over artists because they refuse to stand together. People only care about themselves. Everyone wants to be the "star" in their environment. Some believe that helping others will limit their "shine". They are wrong.
#9 Lack-of-Creativity: It shows in the music. It shows in the inability to market one's self successfully. Lack-of-excitement=Lack-of-creativity. Creativity flows when you are excited or inspired. Work on your attitude. Creativity will come.
#10 Dishonesty: Artists pretend to be things they are not, and act as if they are only exercising creativity, when being negative. And How come no celebrity will admit to having a "big head" due to fame?
10 Reasons Artists Must Blog About Their Local Music Scene
#1 Blogging about your music scene will make you an instant “key player” in your city, boosting your profile.
#2 You will be seen as the authority and will cause media to seek you out for information.
#3 It will gain you the respect and friendship of every artist in your town.
#4 Blogging will keep you sharp and on your toes. Nothing will happen musically in you city without you knowing about it.
#5 Your blog can obtain a cult following. People will depend on your blog for info.
#6 You will appear to be a marketing genius. Making every other act wish it was their idea.
#7 Eventually, you can generate ad revenue from major sponsors. A great income source.
#8 You will gain recognition from major labels and acts from other cities as the go to guy/girl in your city.
#9 You can charge local acts to promote on your blog.
#10 No one else is doing it!
Seven Ways To Receive FREE Publicity
#1 Write a blog on your local music scene. The media will come to you whenever they have questions about music in your city.
#2 Use prnewswire.com. This is a way to get your press-releases to thousands of media outlets with the click of a mouse.
#3 Start a relationship with the journalist who writes the music column in your city’s newspaper. Make sure that you create a buzz first. Give him/her a reason to write about you. Periodically keep in touch. And when you put out a project, they just might write about it.
#4 Get involved in the community. Go to grammar schools and read to the kids. Protest gang violence in your neighborhood or speak to high schoolers about the importance of staying in school. Genuine community service can get you on the news as a public interest story.
#5 Send your story to every free periodical you can think of. They are always looking for local stories. Again, make sure you have a buzz first.
#6 Create a controversy surrounding your act, then let the media know about it.
#7 Be creative.
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© 2008 WJohnson TheMus