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The best career advice I ever got from Stan Lee (Yes, this relates to the Music Industry)

February 19, 2019

I was watching TV recently and they were interviewing an actor about the passing of Stan Lee. (I wish I could remember who is it was….)

Anyhow, he said, “The best advice I ever go from Stan Lee was ‘GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY.'”

Stan Lee, as you probably know, is the legend behind Marvel and pretty much every cool superhero out there (look away DC folks).

I thought that quote really meant something special because I’ve seen it day after day with artists I’ve worked with.

They sabotage their careers.

How?

So many ways.

1) They don’t answer their emails – answering your emails and messages the minute they come in is the #1 way to move you career forward.

2) They make bad decisions – they hire the wrong manager, the wrong publicist. They may even have the wrong band members in the group. They seem to make bad decision
on purpose…and then wonder why things aren’t coming together for them.

3) They don’t put effort into their careers each and every day – enough said.

4) They don’t invest in themselves

Most artists that make it had to get money somehow. Maybe they work 2 or 3 jobs. Maybe they have a rich uncle. Maybe one of the
people in the band has money. They know that the expression, “It takes money to make money” is true and they believe in their music enough to invest their own money….or find some
money another way to invest in their own career.

5) They don’t understand the importance of social media

These days, you can write the most amazing songs in the world. You can even film the most amazing videos on YouTube.
But if no one knows you exist, does it matter? Art is art…but you want to make MONEY and making a LIVING from your music and art, don’t you?

6) They don’t listen to good advice / they don’t take direction from people who know what they are talking about.

I find that a lot of times an artist is a very poor judge of who is honest and who isn’t…or who is legit and who isn’t. Or simply what a good business decision is and what isn’t. I do believe you should generally “trust your gut” but sometimes people over promise and under deliver…yet these people get hired all the time and the artist wonders why they keep failing over and over. It isn’t easy to find a good manager, a good publicist or an honest person sometimes…but you have to learn to know who is legit and who is bragging and who is genuine and who just needs another dollar.

What DO successful artists do if they get out of their way?

***They don’t wait around to be discovered. They are on IG and Spotify and online promoting their music to new channels and blogs and fans every day. I found
one artist recently who knew how important Instagram is that he just kept promoting himself on there. He now has over 200,000 followers and is selling songs and out
playing show.

Anyhow, these are just a few of the ways I’ve seen artists “be in their own way.”

How are you getting in the way of your success?

And what are you doing to change it?

     -- 
Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

~Music PR~
www.truetalentpr.com

Read our blog at: truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com for dozens of free articles about the music business

"Do, or do not. There is no try." 
  --  Jedi Master Yoda

"Always treat others with kindness and respect."
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Momagers and Dadagers (Yes, this relates to the Music Industry)

December 19, 2018

First of all, I want to give a shout out to all the moms and dads out there.

Easily the hardest job in the world, but also the most rewarding, right?

But this article isn't about you.

This article isn't about all the great moms and dads that manage their kids and help them every day, whether they are writing songs in their bedroom or touring the world.

After all, a lot of famous singers were managed by their parents. 

Beyonce and her dad are probably the most famous. 

Michael Jackson too although not in a good way.

Taylor Swift's dad was instrumental in her career success.

But this article isn't about the great momagers and dadagers out there. It's about the bad ones.

Hear me out.

I've seen a lot of crazy things after 20 years in the music business. And one of the worst offenses in my opinion is the bad momager or dadager. 

I am writing this article to hopeful shed some light on poor decisions and behavior in the hopes you won't make the same mistakes.

Dadager #1 "The User"

Some years ago I found a really talented, young singer/songwriter. She was trying to mimic Norah Jones (for anyone old enough to remember her). 

We spent quite a bit of time together and countless hours on the phone where I shared free advice in the hopes of signing his daughter.

However, he was hesistant to commit to any type of management agreement, even after months of meetings and oodles of free advice and no real reason not to sign.

Well, one day I am sitting down to lunch with another manager friend of mine. Of course, we get to talking and she casually mentions the same young singer/songwriter.

It turns out, her dad was also milking her for months of free advice and information and stringing her along too with clearly no intention of signing with either of us.

Now, some might think that is smart behavior. But the music industry is a VERY small world....even smaller now. 

And shockingly, those of us in the business don't like finding out that we are being used and taken advantage of. 

I tried talking to her directly and she said, "I know he's bad...but he's my dad. What can I do?"

Of course, her career never went anywhere and she ended up giving up on music and getting married, never to be heard from again.

The moral of the story: be honest with people. 

It's fine to check someone out befor signing with them. 

Savvy in fact. 

But if you're just using multiple people with no intention of committing to anyone, DON'T. 

People talk. 

People know each other in this city and industry. 

And when you're found out, you can bet that they will tell everyone they know not to work with you because you aren't a good honest person and are taking advantage of people's kindness.

The lesson? If you find a good, honest and hard-working manager or representative in the music business, sign with them! 

Don't keep playing the field. Otherise, you end up being labeled a "user" and instead of finding a great manager, end up with NO ONE!


***


Momager #2 "I Know Everything"

I've worked with countless moms and dads who fall into this category. 

They think they know everything, despite the fact that they've never worked for a record label, management company or in the music or entertainment business at all.

It's a real shame because when someone thinks they know everything, they are shooting themselves in the foot for many reasons and jeopardizing the very careers of 
the child they so desperately want to help succeed. 

After all, you wouldn't go to a dentist who had never done a root canal and tell them you know best, would you? 

"Drill more to the right, not the left! I know!!"

That would be ridiculous, right?

I look up this one momager's daughter from time to time. She thought her daughter would be the next Taylor Swift.

Well, her daughter is still playing regional shows in and around her home town and hasn't done anything noteworthy. 

But her mom knows best...

The lesson?

Listen to someone in the industry if they really know their stuff.
 

***


Dadager #3: "The Desperate Parent/Poor Decision Maker"

Most recently, a dad called me about his 20 year old son. (Of course, I wondered why his son wasn't calling me himself. He's 20 of course, not 12!) 

Anyhow, the dadager's phone pitching skills were really bad...but I took a listen to his son's music anyhow and thought I heard some potential.

We had a nice meeting over dinner and wine at his house and I met his mom and songwriting and band partner. 

After several hours of giving countless free industry advice, I found out they were currently working with a really dishonest person who had been sentenced to jail time.

When I told them they were making a huge mistake, the dad refused to listen. I sent dozens of emails explaining the deal they were about to sign was a bad one. They
didn't care.

When some artists or their parents see money, all good sense goes out the window.

It's crazy to me because this industry is so small...

Why would you associate yourself with dishonest and shady people when there are so many good, honest people you can work with and make money with??

I guarantee you that if you get into bed with someone who is dishonest and has a history of scamming $10,000 a month from artist's parents before, it will eventually
happen to you too.

But the dad was desperate. He wouldn't listen to reason or common sense or anything no matter how much I pleaded with him. So, I had to walk away.

I can almost guarantee you that family is going to eventually be bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars because they are doing business with a bad person. But they don't care.

So dumb.

***

Momager #4: "The OverProtector"

A couple years ago I stumbled upon this really amazing young singer. 

She has been home schooled but had this really beautiful voice and album she had made.

Well, despite her beautiful voice, her parents were sweet but had just sheltered her too much.

She had no idea how to use social media at all and had no ability or understanding of the platforms she needed (Facebook, IG, YouTube, Twitter) to promote her music. 

You can't expect you can hire people to manage your social media for you (at least not in the beginning). And they didn't have the money to hire someone anyhow...

And what was worse, since she was home schooled, she had so few friends and classmates that she couldn't even get out in front of people she knew.

Her mom was sweet, don't get me wrong, but they had no band and doing anything with them was almost impossible as they couldn't even book more than one show.

It's good to care about your kids...but then the music business is really not for you because you need to be incredibly social and can't shelter your kid if
you want them to succeed.

***

Perhaps you have a story to share too?

I hope these stories can shed some light on common mistakes that parents make in trying to "make it" in the music business so you can avoid them too!

Maybe you've made some of these same mistakes in your own careers. What have you learned?

     -- 
Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

~Music PR~
www.truetalentpr.com

Read our blog at: truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com for dozens of free articles about the music business

"Do, or do not. There is no try." 
  --  Jedi Master Yoda

"Always treat others with kindness and respect."
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Cover Songs: Should You Do Them?

November 8, 2018

I often here the same statement from artists when I suggest they put cover songs up on YouTube or add one solid cover tune to their live show.

"I don't want to. I want to create original music."

And that's fine. 

I get that.

But I also think that if you want to reach the masses as an independent or unsigned singer or group, sometimes you need to make good 
career decisions. And covering other artist's songs is oftentimes the easiest way to get a following on social media these days.

So why not try it? Upload a cover song to YouTube. 

Step 1:
Of course, you need to first do some research and see if you're allowed to cover that artist. Some covers get taken down and it can jeopardize your YouTube account. So try to find songs that the artist or band seems to be ok with others covering.

Step 2:
Then, go for it!

Step 3:
Be original. Don't cover something in the same style, tempo and vibe as the original artist. Some of the best cover songs take a rock song and make it into a heartfelt ballad. Or take a ballad and make it into a rock song! Use your creativity in a different way!

Step 4:
You might get press from one of them on a popular music blog or get it licensed to a film or TV show:
https://pigeonsandplanes.com/in-depth/30-cover-songs-that-are-better-than-the-original-2/winehouse-valerie-ronson

Listen, the Beatles are arguably one of the most loved bands of all time and they performed for hundreds if not thousands of hours as a cover band in Berlin. Don't let your pride get in the way of your success! If you do some great cover songs, you WILL find fans! Those fans will then naturally want to hear more music from you! And likely
will want to hear some original tunes!

So get going! Send me your best cover song! Who knows! Maybe one day it will get licensed and make you a star the way Gary Jules cover of Tears for Fears "Mad World" helped him 
break out from the "Donnie Darko" soundtrack some years ago!

Tears for Fears "Mad World": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZvPSpLxCg

Gary Jules cover version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3N1MlvVc4

The story of "Mad World": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_World

 -- 
Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

~Music PR~
www.truetalentpr.com

Read our blog at: truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com for dozens of free articles about the music business

"Do, or do not. There is no try." 
  --  Jedi Master Yoda
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Challenge Yourself and CHANGE SOMETHING In 2018 (Yes, this relates to music)

December 27, 2017

 

How old is your iPhone? A year? Two at most? I’m guessing it’s not 10 years old, right?

My web site was only a few years old…but it was so outdated, it didn’t even work well on mobile. So I updated it!

Technology moves at such a rapid pace these days. Even a site that’s a year old can be considered “old” or out of date.

Have you been doing things the same way for a long time?

If so, it’s time for a change!

***

Always write songs alone? Why not collaborate?

Always co-write? Why not take a stab at a few songs on your own?

Always spend your time in the studio? Get out there and play more gigs!

Tired of living on the road and not having time to record? Take a break and get back in the studio!

Always write songs in the same style? The same keys? Change it!

Always promote your own music? Hire someone to help for a change!

Always using the same producer? Or producing songs yourself? Try someone new!

Expecting your music to find an audience without any promotion? Try promoting more on social media. Making more YouTube videos. Promoting them!

My point is – mix it up! Do something different! Do the opposite! It worked for George on “Seinfeld”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY
***

My point is – if you don’t make a change….if you keep doing the same thing, you are likely going to get stuck in a rut.

I saw “The Greatest Showman” and in the movie (which I highly recommend BTW) was an amazing quote, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” That line really hit home with me.

I see so many artists writing the same songs in the same style year after year and not getting anywhere.

CHANGE SOMETHING!

The one quote you hear a thousand times a day when you live in Los Angeles and work in the music business is, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Some say Albert Einstein said this. But in any case, no matter who said it, the point is that change is good. You need to evolve if you’re going to grow and achieve great things.

Maybe that starts small. Buy a new guitar. But better yet, learn a new instrument. Always write songs in the living room? Try writing in a cafe or outside.

CHANGE SOMETHING!

Change a lot of things!

Progress only happens when you get out of your comfort zone!

Vow to make some changes in 2018 and let me know what happens!

****

I hope this article helps you! Please feel free to forward it to anyone you like…but please don’t post it anywhere online without my permission.

And check out my music blog with over 100 articles of free advice:

https://truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com/

***

Need help promoting your new album, single, video or music career in 2018? 

A reminder that we need at least 2-3+ months lead time to do PR for any new release! January is the best time of year to promote new music
so email me today to start planning your next release!
  --
Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

~Music PR~
www.truetalentpr.com

"Do, or do not. There is no try."
  --  Jedi Master Yoda

"Always treat others with kindness and respect."
  

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The #1 Mistake I See Artists Making When It Comes to Promoting Their Music

September 28, 2017

 

I was recently emailing with an artist who had hired at least 10 different companies to promote their music over the years who hadn’t seen any results.

Frustrated, they wrote me back, “I’m just done spending any money whatsoever on PR, Radio, Placement, Management, etc.”

 

I get it.

The music business isn’t easy.

I asked them which firms they had hired…and sadly, I’d only heard of one of them.

But, that doesn’t usually matter. It’s ok to hire a small company if they are HUNGRY and are really going to HUSTLE for you!

In fact, I’ve heard dozens of stories over the years of artists who hired a BIG NAME PR company to represent them, an INDIE artist/BAND. They seem surprised when that “big name” PR company doesn’t do anything for them.

A few things:

1) It doesn’t matter HOW MUCH MONEY you have or WHO YOU HIRE. If your music isn’t CONNECTING with people, first your friends and family, but then, MORE importantly, the FANS, the GENERAL PUBLIC and also critics/the industry, you’re going to be disappointed no matter what. I know that is hard to hear….but back in the days of U2 and Bruce Springsteen, before the Internet became a THING, the ONLY WAY to get fans was a slow and steady process of writing and recording songs and more importantly, TOURING to get the music out there. And that first album or two didn’t always connect. It didn’t sell a MILLION copies the first week.

If you’re not seeing a response from songs you are actively promoting on Soundcloud and YouTube, maybe you just haven’t hit the nail on the head. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a HIT SONG, or just a GREAT song doesn’t come along every day. Or every month or every year. ONE HIT WONDERS exist because its hard enough to write ONE good song much less TWO hit singles, or an entire album’s worth.

2) A company that has a huge roster of artists, especially KNOWN artists, is likely spending ALL THEIR TIME marketing and promoting those acts. Let’s use this as an example. Let’s pretend I just signed Coldplay as a client. Say I’m doing press for them. I am going to spend 900 hours a day just fielding inquiries from the media, all wanting their attention. Now while you may not be hiring Coldplay’s publicist or manager, even a small act that is moderately successful is going to garner almost ALL of your attention whether you’re a publicist, radio promoter, manager, etc. Now imagine I’m working this little band and you come along and need help. How much of my time on any given day can I devote to you if I’m working with Coldplay? Or a handful of moderately successful acts? The answer is: not much! That’s why I always ENCOURAGE indie artists to hire someone small who truly LOVES their music who will go to bat for them no matter what!

3)  Let’s not forget the magical power of LUCK and TIMING! No matter who you hire, you have to have the RIGHT SONG at the RIGHT time. I just saw a video of an artist that released a video and single about Transgender Equality. Talk about timely! That is a song that is going to get media attention and shares because the topic is so timely. If you wrote a song and made a video that was about hurricane relief or helping Puerto Rico and Houston and Florida right now I bet it would get some attention. I’m not saying you need to use a gimmick to become successful. But if you want your music to get noticed, to grab the INDUSTRY and public’s attention, doing something that is timely would certainly help. And there is a magic to having just A SONG THAT TRULY CONNECTS with people. That’s why songs about love stand out a lot. It’s like this James Arthur song that was released just in time for wedding season this past summer. It’s so poignant and true and honest. Write a song like that and I guarantee people will take notice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yW7w8F2TVA Write from the heart and write something naked and honest. If you’re open and honest I guarantee others will related to the lyrics and feeling your song evokes.

4)  This is likely the most likely reason you’re not seeing results! It’s entirely possible that your music is great and timely and you’ve simply hired the wrong firm or person to represent you. This happens 99% of the time. It’s not rocket science to be a great manager, publicist or promoter. But it also isn’t easy. It requires years of dedication, drive, persistence, passion and most of all CONNECTIONS. The best thing you can do is to check references and do your research on a company before your hire them or decide to work with them. When I was starting out 20 years ago, I literally had to beg and plead and hustle to convince my first band to let me work with them. After that, the contacts grew and clients starting finding me. But that first one? It wasn’t easy. I really had to prove to them that I was the right person for the job. Trust your gut. Check references. Don’t just believe what people tell you because, after all, it’s the music business and people will lie to get business. But if you do your homework and are a good judge of character, you’ll likely find the right firm and person to represent you and your amazing tunes!

I hope this article helps you! Please feel free to forward it to anyone you like…but please

don’t post it anywhere online without my permission.

And check out my music blog with over 100 articles of free advice:

https://truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com/

 --
Jennifer Yeko
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA  90210

~Music PR~
www.truetalentpr.com

"Do, or do not. There is no try."
  --  Jedi Master Yoda

"Always treat others with kindness and respect."
  

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What’s Been The Most Successful Way To Promote Your Music?

May 9, 2017

I write a lot of articles based on my 20 years of experience in the music industry.

However, this time, I want to turn it around to YOU!

Please post on my blog and tell me what the most effective thing you’ve done to promote your music career has been!

Has it been:

1) Live shows?
2) Posting a lot on social media? (If so, what’s been the best? Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat?)

3) Buying ads on Facebook?
4) SEO?

5) Posting videos on Youtube?
6) Posting covers on YouTube?
7) Getting press?
8) Getting on the radio somehow?

9) Emailing your fans / your web site?
10) Something else?

Please post and let me know! https://truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com/

(Or, you can just hit “reply” to this email)

***

Need to promote your upcoming EP or tour?  Hire us!  Email ineedpr@truetalentpr.com for more information and include a copy of this email when you write!

 

http://www.truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business

 

You are receiving this email because you have either sent us music in the past or are an artist or band that we’ve heard great things about (or are otherwise involved in the music business as a manager, attorney, A&R, etc).

 

To unsubscribe from future event notifications, please reply to this email with the subject line “unsubscribe” and specify if you’d like to unsubscribe from True Talent’s database entirely or just from our music requests.  We certainly can’t imagine why you’d leave though since we’ve placed now over 50 songs in film/tv, including “Sex and the City” and “The OC”.  Major labels, artists and managers have asked to be added to the list.

 

Getting music in film/tv is one of the best ways to get exposure for music from indie / unsigned bands.

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Do You Listen?

December 22, 2016

Do You Listen?

I know that if you’re an artist, you’re in the business of creating music. Making sound.

But did you know that the key to becoming successful in the music business isn’t making sound  – but LISTENING?

I remember when I was starting out in the management business almost twenty years ago and we were about to sit down with a band we really wanted to sign. I sat down with my partner at the time and asked, “So, what should we talk about in this first meeting with this band?”

Her response was one that’s stayed with me EVERY DAY!

She said, “I’d ask them, ‘how well do they take direction?’

As in, if you ask them to do something, will they do it?

Will they listen to your GUIDANCE?

After all, the entire purpose of a manager is to “advise and counsel” the artist….so if they aren’t going to listen to your advice, there is no point to managing them.”

Truer words were never spoken.

***

Flash forward almost twenty years later and you’d be amazing at what I’ve learned.

The most startling thing is this – MOST ARTISTS DO NOT LISTEN. Most artist that I’ve observed from either near or afar DO NOT take direction well.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that 95-99.9% of artists DO NOT LISTEN.

Now I understand that it’s not a dictatorship when you take on a client. And when an artist signs with a manager, your job isn’t to just do whatever your manager says. However, I’ve found that the most successful relationships have been when we agree and are on the same page 99% of the time. And I’ve sat and watched artists implode and fail time and time again because they went against my advice. They often went against ANY advice for that matter – and just continued to do things the way they saw fit.

For example, one artist, upon moving to Los Angeles, flat out refused to perform live. Sure, there would be a show or two a year. But the artist felt that performing live was a “waste of time.” I tried so hard to get this artist out there and impress upon them that no, they were wrong, but also, PERFORMING LIVE IS THE ENTIRE KEY TO SUCCESS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS. That’s like a chef refusing to cook food. THAT’S THE JOB. And fine, it was some years ago, but if you just REFUSE to perform live, then you better spend every waking moment on social media and building up your fan base that way.

But no, they refused. They didn’t listen. They didn’t take my advice. So they instead went to the park and read books and eventually, when no one discovered their amazing music by them reading books in the park, they moved back home, got married and had kids. Which is all nice and lovely…but not if you really want to be successful. And this is all from an artist that was signed at 19 to a major record label BY THE LABEL PRESIDENT!!! So, the talent was there. The songs were there. The look was there. The LISTENING part was not. Not sure if it was stubbornness or foolishness but whatever it was, it ultimately lead to the artist’s career going nowhere…and yet they are still trying to figure out what went wrong and why they never “made it!” Yikes.

I can’t speak to all managers because many are good….but many are not. But what I can tell you is that a GOOD manager, and the GREAT manager out there is an objective third party. They can watch you and your career and see what you are doing correctly. And they can see what you are doing WRONG.

The SMART artist will make the necessary changes.

If the ship is off course, you steer back to get on course, don’t you?

If you’re running out of gas in the car, or make a wrong turn, you correct it, don’t you? You fill the tank.

If your plane is taking off and if your plane is about to land, you better pay EXTRA special attention because those are the most critical (and dangerous) parts of flying…but also the most crucial parts of your career. How you start things and get going…and where you ultimately land.

It’s best to listen to your co-pilot as they are often the ones who know what’s up. They have the data. You may be the the pilot and in charge (good music is key, no GREAT music is key), ultimately, but without a great co-pilot (your manager), you’re likely going to hit a mountain or miss important data that you need in order to really soar.

So, I urge you, NO, I BEG YOU TO LISTEN. TAKE DIRECTION.

Yes, it’s a collaborative process.

But if you trust your manager enough to sign a legal document to agree to work with them, you better sure listen to what they have to say….because being STUBBORN and NOT LISTENING and thinking you know what’s best when you don’t – when your head is way too close to it – is ultimately, oftentimes, the kiss of death – and the reason why your plane/career is stuck on the tarmac while others are taking off and soaring to new heights.

Hope that helps.

And safe travels this holiday season!

Jennifer Yeko
President
True Talent Management & True Talent PR
http://www.truetalentmgmt.com 
http://www.truetalentpr.com