Archive for January, 2008

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What managers look for in artists – plus comments from the last email

January 31, 2008

Date: January 31, 2008 4:05:44 AM EST
Subject: What managers look for in artists – plus comments from the last email

At the very bottom you may recall an article I wrote about “What managers look for in artists”.

Here are some of the comments I received.

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

Music Marketing and Publicity
http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Motivation and determination are 1000 times more potent than talent alone”
-Some guy online
“Be nice to everyone.  You never know if the intern will be the next president of your record company.”
-Michael Buble
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“People have to learn they have to juggle everything until they get lucky. They need to work a steady job, make a living and make time for the band. They need to take all the money they make from the band and throw it back into the band”
–David Draiman, Vocalist for Disturbed, interviewed in Music Connection

*****
I love it when you send out stuff like this Jennifer. I enjoy patting myself on the back when you give advice that I’ve already learned previously and taken to heart, and I also really respond to the weaknesses you point out in my approach. Thank you so much for taking the time to help out. Have a great day!
-Rob

*****

15.  An artist with good morals/values. ???????
18.  An artist that treats their family and friends with honesty and respect.  ???????

Jennifer,
You are almost making me consider seriously having an interest in the industry. LOL 🙂

Again another very enlightening post. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule for us artists out in internet land.

Kind Regards,
Steve

****
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Do you ever wonder why it’s hard to find a great manager?

Well, I receive a lot of phone calls (and emails) from artists and bands looking for management.

When I was starting out, I signed bands whose music I just loved.  And while that same principle holds true, over the past decade of managing, I’ve definitely added to the list of what I look for in an artist.  For
me, it’s not just “do I love this music?” but also “Do I think this artist/band can go all the way?” and many other things I look for besides just great songs.

So, the topic of this email is:
What managers look for in artists:  (Where “managers” in this case, would be me!)

1.  Talent/creativity
2.  An artist that wants to be very successful
3.  Work ethic
4.  Charisma/star quality
5.  Great performer
6.  Passion/drive
7.  Persistence & patience
8.  An artist that won’t take “no” for an answer
9.  A marketable image
10.  An artist that is knowledgeable about the music business
11.  An artist that is good at marketing/promoting themself
12.  An artist that listens to me
13.  An artist that isn’t naive/too trusting
14.  An artist willing to do whatever it takes
15.  An artist with good morals/values
16.  An artist that wants me to succeed just as much as they want to succeed
17.  A unique voice/sound
18.  An artist that treats their family and friends with honesty and respect
19.  An artist with a positive attitude
20.  An artist that can take criticism
21.  An artist who is open minded
22.  An artist who is naturally lucky/has good timing

Now let’s go through the list, one by one.

1.  Talent/Creativity.  The most important thing I look for when signing an artist is their talent.  Are they a great songwriter?  (note:  I wrote ‘great’ and not ‘good’).  Are they a great singer?  Guitarist?  Piano player?   But above and beyond that, do they also write songs that are commercial?  Because at the end of the day, no matter what genre you’re in, your music needs to connect with people.  You need to be able to get people to your shows.  To make a living as a musician, as an artist, you need people to buy your music.  Also, I look to see if the artist writes songs that may sound like other artists out there, but that aren’t carbon copies.  (i.e. do their songs clearly rip off XYZ artist/band?)  Do their songs have a commercial sensibility with a unique slant?  i.e. you can’t sound EXACTLY like Gwen Stefani or Fall Out Boy, but few artists reinvent the wheel (like Nirvana).  I want an artist that writes melodic, catchy songs.  Songs that you can sing along to!  That are memorable. That people respond to.  Ultimately, your audience is the true test of your talent.  If people are responding by buying your music and coming to your shows, chances are, there’s talent there!

2.  An artist that wants to be very successful.  Everyone from Madonna to the Beatles to Kanye West to U2 have wanted to become big stars and become incredibly, massively successful.  I found this quote on the Internet:  “Somebody said to me, ‘But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.’ That’s a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, ‘Now, let’s write a swimming pool.’?” — Paul McCartney.  Of course, he goes on to say he also thought they were creating art.  But my point is, if one of the most successful and well respected bands in the world wanted to write hits, and was obvious about it, well, there’s a lesson there, don’t you think?

3.  Work ethic.  Talent means nothing unless you have the work ethic to back it up.  To me, this usually means that I look for an artist that tours like crazy.  I don’t care if you play 10 shows a month in your home town or perform in a different city each night.  Successful artists want to be out there performing and working like crazy.  Writing songs every day.  There is no “magic” to success.  It truly is just a ridiculous amount of hard work!  And if you believe you don’t need to work hard to get there, well, good luck!  Artists that aren’t willing to work to the point of exhaustion just don’t get far.  Because for every lazy artist, there are 10 that are working their butts off!

4.  Charisma/star quality.  I need to feel like the artist has that “special something”. That they turn heads when they walk in a room.  Most artists either have this or they don’t.  Confidence goes along with this and is very important to me, as long as the artist isn’t too cocky.  However, cocky artists succeed far more often than shy, insecure artists.  People generally respond to and are attracted to confident people.  Ever met an insecure salesman?  Chances are they weren’t very successful.  The confident ones are.

5.  Great performer.  Not only must the artist be able to sing well live (meaning on key, with a strong, powerful voice), they also must engage the audience and have a lot of energy up on stage.  Be funny, interesting and/or charming.  Whatever your angle, I look for an artist that will keep fans coming back for more.  So whether you were doing another show tomorrow night, or in a month, your fans should be dying to come back and see you again, again and again (and posting “when is your next show?” on your myspace page).

6.  Passion/drive.  Passion when they sing.  Passion when you meet them.  I need to feel like the artist want badly to “make it”.  Without passion and drive, well, not much will happen.

7.  Persistence & patience.   You must be incredibly persistent to ‘make it’ in the music business.  So many artists don’t try hard enough.  Or they do try for a bit.  Maybe even 4-7 years. But then they give up.  Just when they were getting close.  To be successful, I look for an artist with an “I’ll never give up” attitude.  At the same time, you have to be patient as success in the music business takes a long time.  Many times 6-7, 10+ years.  So I look for an artist that is not only persistent but also patient as there will be ups and downs and frustrations along the way.  This is not to say that you can’t ever be frustrating that it’s “taking too long” but it’s how you channel that frustration that is important.  Do you sit around and sulk or just work 10 times harder when things get tough?

8.  An artist that won’t take “no” for an answer.  Pretty much self-explanatory but if someone says no, ask someone else.  Or keep asking until that person turns their “no” into a “yes”.  Every successful businessperson has this attitude – they just won’t accept ‘no’.

9.  A marketable image.  Again, pretty much self-explanatory but for example, it’s far easier to market a goth band as there is a built in fan base there, compared to marketing a generic rock band.  Then again, Nickelback is pretty generic rock and is one of the biggest selling bands out there today.  Whatever it may be, whether you’re rock, country, teen pop or a singer/songwriter, you need to have an image that is marketable and that your fans can relate to.  So whether you’re a heavy metal band that boys and men like to rock out to, or a girlie girl who is sweet, cute and pretty and will inspire other sweet, pretty girls to idolize her, you must have a good, marketable image.  Look at the Grateful Dead – they tapped into all the stoners in the world and toured forever!

10.  An artist that is knowledgeable about the music business.  There is a lot to be learned about the music business.  I look for an artist that reads every book, every magazine, everything they can get their hands on about the music business – from music industry books to marketing books to books on publicity.  Biographies.  Business books. The more you read, the more it will help you in life and your music career.  If you’ve ever worked at a label or in the music business (or been signed), all the better!  I also look for artists that take classes – whether they are voice lessons or ProTools lessons or music business classes.  Artists that attend music seminars and conventions are far smarter than artists that do not.  I look for an artist that is constantly looking to learn everything they can about the business.  An artist that wants to improve themself from not only a business perspective but also as an artist.  I like artists that ask questions as it shows they want to learn everything they can.

11.  An artist that is good at marketing/promoting themself.  Any successful artist is great at marketing and promoting themself.  Wonder why Madonna is so huge?  She is an expert marketer.  I look for an artist that will aggressively market and promote themself.  A smart artist will know how to win people over and will market and promote themself well, while not “overdoing it” or “annoying people” along the way.

12.  An artist that listens to me.  I have to manage an artist that will listen to me.  Take my advice and constructive criticism to heart.  That’s not to say we’ll agree 100% of the time, but ideally we’ll be on the same page 99% of the time!  Because, 99% of the time, I’m right!

13.  An artist that isn’t naive/too trusting.  There are so many sharks in the music business.  In fact, I was once complaining to a friend over someone that was shady and he said, “Are they in the music/entertainment business?” and I replied, “Why yes,” and he said, “yeah, pretty much everyone in that business is shady. Watch out.”  And while there are gems out there, sadly, it’s probably a very small percent (5-20%) of people in the entertainment business that are entirely trustworthy, and will have your best interests at heart.  I need to work with an artist who is smart enough to walk away from anyone that pressures them into a deal, lies, cheats, and steals, or just generally overpromises.  So often I hear of an artist that signed with a manager or company and said, “I don’t know about him, but I signed anyway.”  Wow, what a bad idea!  Follow your intuition.  If it feels shady or strange, it probably is!  Do your research!!!  It may be as simple as asking everyone you know and doing some research on Google – and you’d be amazed how well known shady people are!  People’s reputations usually precede them.  Paula Deen recently appeared on TV and talked about how you should be very, very careful about anyone that approaches you in business.  She said, “They will suck you dry and steal all that you’ve worked for”.  A lot of people come out of the woodwork when you start making money in any way.  Smart artists realize this and look out for these sharks instead of getting into business with them.  And sadly, many of these people may work in “the business” for studios, labels or big, powerful, successful companies.  Don’t be impressed by someone’s resume.  Go with your gut instinct ALWAYS!

14.  An artist willing to do whatever it takes.  Again, not at the expense of their friends, family or people they do business with (like me), but an artist that is willing to do whatever it takes, whether it be playing shows with less than stellar turnouts or writing a thousand songs.  The artist must be open minded, willing to try new things, and willing to fail.  Because only by doing these things can one become truly successful.

15.  An artist with good morals/values.  Again, we all want to get ahead, but I refuse to compromise and screw over someone for the sake of making a bit more money for myself.  Sure, it’s easy to make money the sleazy way, but if it takes me (and my artist/band) a bit longer to get to the top by being honest, then so be it.  I want an artist on the same page as me.  I don’t believe you have to screw anyone over to ‘make it’.  And anyone that tells you that you need to cheat someone to get ahead is someone you should run, run, run away from!  “Sometimes you need to cheat to get ahead?”  Nope, I don’t think so!  Only cheaters and sharks say that!  Personally, I’m not impressed if someone in the business has a lot of money or appears very successful.  Many people throw values and morals out the window just to get money.  So don’t trust someone just because they have (or appear to have) a lot of money.  How did they get it?  The ethical way?  Or the shady way?

16.  An artist that wants me to succeed just as much as they want to succeed.  At the end of the day, the more successful I am as a manager, the more successful my artists will be.  I want an artist who wants to see me get paid just as much as they want to get paid for their hard work.  I want an artist who will gladly pay me my commission/fee rather than be dishonest so they keep a bit more the money for themself.  I want my artist to be happy when I’m written up in magazines and promoted as the more press I get as a manager, the better it is for them!

17.  A unique voice/sound.  Turn on your radio.  I’m serious.  Do it right now.  I bet you can name the singer or band within a few notes, right?  Most every successful artist has a very distinctive voice when you hear them on the radio.  So should you.

18.  An artist that treats their family and friends with honesty and respect.  I often look at an artist’s relationship with their family, friends and significant other as an indicator as to what type of person they are.  i.e. if they truly love, respect and are faithful to their significant other, chances are they will be like that with other people in their life, including (hopefullly) their business partners such as myself.  But if they disrespect those around them, that’s a warning sign for me to stay away.  If I like the artist as a person, chances are, this is someone I’d want to manage.

19.  An artist with a positive attitude.  You have to stay positive if you want to succeed.  I meet a lot of jaded and bitter artists.  It’s sad as I see these artists wasting all their time making excuses and complaining, instead of just getting out there and working hard!

20.  An artist that can take criticism.  It takes a special type of artist that can take (and even seek out) constructive criticism.  But criticism will just make you better – a better songwriter, a better performer.  If an artist is too insecure or doesn’t want to hear criticism, they are often doomed from the start.  Every person has room for improvement.  How good a writer would you be if your English teacher had never corrected and marked up paper you wrote?  You have to take and seek out criticism to grow and become a better artist.

21.  An artist who is open minded.  About new opportunities.  In general, successful people are open minded.  You have to be willing to try something new.  Thinking “out of the box” may be what breaks your career wide open.

22.  An artist who is naturally lucky/has good timing.  At the end of the day, no matter how hard you work (creating your own luck), random luck like just being in the right place at the right time really helps.  If you’re a lucky person in general, chances are that you will also be lucky in your music career.

As a footnote, I might add that all the above are almost all requirements.  I’d add to my “wish list” an artist that is young, attractive, and already making money from their music career.  In my experience, the younger the artist is, the easier they tend to be to work with (and the more they listen to me).  Looks aren’t everything but it sure helps, for example, if the artist is good looking as it helps to sell CDs when you put a cute picture of a girl or guy on there (come on, admit that you’ve noticed CDs by artists you think are attractive).  Solo artists are easier to work with than bands as there are less people there to manage, but I choose artists based on the music, not “are they solo vs. a 5 piece band”?

Ironically, these days, I would either take a young, attractive artist or someone that is older, more mature and more saavy about the business.  An artist like this will approach their music career seriously – as a real business.  And are more saavy in general.

When you manage someone, you’re really starting a business with that artist.  So whether we’re running this music career or opening a taco shop, the entrepreneurial spirit and skill set needs to be there.  Because you’ve picked the most competitive business of all to start up – your music career!

And lastly, it’s fifty times more work to take an artist who has made almost no money to one that is making a lot of money than to manage someone who already has the ball rolling and is pulling in income.

Well, that’s about all I can think of for now.  But I’m sure I’ll have a few more criteria to add by the time you read this!

And if you think that’s a long list, well, now you might begin to understand why so few artists make it to the top – and stay there!

I hope this email gives you some ideas and challenges you to grow!

Also, please read on below to find comments from artists about management and my last email, and a good question!

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

http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Motivation and determination are 1000 times more potent than talent alone”
-Some guy online
“Be nice to everyone.  You never know if the intern will be the next president of your record company.”
-Michael Buble
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“People have to learn they have to juggle everything until they get lucky. They need to work a steady job, make a living and make time for the band. They need to take all the money they make from the band and throw it back into the band”
–David Draiman, Vocalist for Disturbed, interviewed in Music Connection

******

It’s amazing how many artists have no understanding of the business.  I
want to thank you again for your constant advice that shows you care and
are a no nonsense person/manager.  That’s professional and that’s
important and that’s why you are in the position you are.  Take care.
-Tey

{Editor’s Note:  Thanks Tey.  I really appreciate your note and all the supportive, kind, sweet emails
others have sent me regarding this last email piece I wrote.}

*****
Question:

Hi Jennifer,

First let me say thanks for all the info ..I’ve really benefited from it.

However I do have a question.

When do you consider it a good time to solicit a manager?

Right now I sell a good number of CDs on cdbaby…and I do good on snocap & itunes as well…

I have performed out of state with some national acts…i.e. Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin & Alex Bugnon in addition I’m on my way to the Pacific to do a USO tour for the military.

Is this enough to attract the attention of a manager?

Thanks,

Shelby

Answer:

Hmm, not sure that you read my last email.

Are managers approaching you?

Are you making any money with your music?

How many CDs have you sold?

You must have something really going on for a reputable manager to want to get involved.

When you say you’ve sold a “good amount” of CDs on CD Baby, what is that?  100?  1,000?  Or 10,000?

Based on the little information you’ve told me it doesn’t sound like you’re ready.

*****
And this response came from a manager friend of mine:

Once again – I have to chime in…

There is SO much information and “how to” books available both in bookstores and on internet sites that explain this very thing (and they are all pretty much in agreement with each other) that it just flabbergasts me when people still do this.

Once again – if you get your project to a certain level on your own, you won’t HAVE to call managers or record labels:  they will be calling you.  The fact that someone even contacts me these days (unless it’s a straight referral – and the person referring someone to me usually calls me to set the contact up so I am prepared for the call) tells me right off the bat they are fairly clueless to how the industry works in general – especially these days.

Sounds to me like you got the typical – hey, do everything for me and make me famous fantasy type “artist” calling you, instead of the DIY result-oriented artist with a story to tell – as in, we are selling out shows like crazy, our merch is doing great, and we are on the radio and in several record stores, etc. You know – like the competition?!?

{Editor’s Note:  Good point.  However, I have managed 2 artists that sent me unsolicited CDs through the mail.  So yeah, it doesn’t usually work that way but in their cases, it did.  So never say never!  And the one band I approached to manage was the laziest one of them all as they weren’t out there hustling; they were sitting around waiting for something “big” to happen.

I like artists that call or contact me because it shows they aren’t sitting at home, waiting to be discovered.  They are picking up the phone, calling me.  Or sending out blind CD submissions.  And true, these things usually don’t work, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know, right?  For 99% of artists, cold calling a management company will not get them signed.  But for a few of you out there, it just might.

On the flip side, playing devil’s advocate, I know artists who are doing the DIY thing and are getting approached by shady managers that have no experience yet promise them the moon and stars.  So while I agree with what the person said above, i.e. “if you build it, they will come” where “they” is a manager, record label, etc., I also believe in hustling and getting out there and doing everything you can to make your career happen.}

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

http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Motivation and determination are 1000 times more potent than talent alone”
-Some guy online
“Be nice to everyone.  You never know if the intern will be the next president of your record company.”
-Michael Buble
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“People have to learn they have to juggle everything until they get lucky. They need to work a steady job, make a living and make time for the band. They need to take all the money they make from the band and throw it back into the band”
–David Draiman, Vocalist for Disturbed, interviewed in Music Connection

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What would you do with $100,000 for your music career? (seriously)

January 5, 2008

Date: January 5, 2008 5:05:33 AM EST
Subject: What would you do with $100,000 for your music career? (seriously)

About this time last year I posed this question to the list:

Yes, it’s a serious question.

What would you do if someone gave you $100K to promote your music career?

Why do I ask?

Because it happened to someone on my list.

What would you do?

I collected the responses and sent them out to the list.  Below are a few
more that I found that might interest you!

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

http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

*****

I believe everything, or most of it, can be done at your home studio, so
I’d use that $$ to do a great distribution.

-PG

[Editor’s Note:  I couldn’t agree more.  Artists that are going to succeed
in the future are going to be artists that can make their recording inexpensively,
ideally at home to cut down on costs.  But what does “do a great distribution” mean?
Get your CD in stores?  Sure, you could do that but distribution is difficult for even
indie artists on small labels so where is the demand going to come from?]

*****

Get a whole bunch of high school & college kids to hack on the computer for
viral marketing.   Spend some money on college radio packets, and a decent
designer to come up with your online presence look and a hook. Make sure
it’s current if not ahead of the pack.

-Lexi

[Editor’s Note:  Great, more creative solutions!  I like the sound of this!]

*****

The first thing I would do is hire a publicist and an attorney.

-LJ

[Editor’s Note:  And <poof> there goes your $100,000.  What do you need an
attorney for right now anyhow?  Do you know how expensive a good music attorney is?
Do you have contracts you need an attorney to review?  Sounds like you’re putting
the cart before the horse.  How about paying an experienced manager to manage you!
When you have a career, then you can worry about finding an attorney.]

*****

To answer in short:

30K on Radio Promotions

20K on Music Publication Advertisements

30K on Touring

5K CD replication

15K for 3 band members to live off of

These are just rough and quick estimations on what we would do.

Keep rockin’!

-Marcel

[Editor’s Note:  Be VERY careful if you hire a radio promoter.  Most I know
are scammers and make up fake reports to make it look like you’re charting
with big name artists when in fact they just take your money and do nothing.

Unless you can hear your songs on the radio, I would stay away!

$20K on advertising in magazines like Spin and Rolling Stone?
Waste of money unless you’re signed to a decent indie label.
You’ll get some name recognition going, maybe, but not $20K
worth.

$30K on touring / tour support?
I’d be down with but only if you can use that money to get on a big name
tour and even then – will you make $30K back?
Maybe.
So far it’s your best bet.

For $5K I hope you’re pressing up a few thousand CDs.
What about merch? T-shirts, etc. to sell on the road?]

*****

I would spend the money on a local and regional campaign to create as much
noise as possible in one place. Usually where the band is from is the
starting point. That encompasses buying a van first, touring everywhere with
cable television advertisement of the CD and the venue.

[Editor’s Note:  What kind of local and regional “campaign”?  Publicity?]

If the band is seeing sales in a certain overseas country I would also
consider establishing that market.
[Editor’s Note:  Depending on the type of music, going overseas may not
be a bad idea.  Some bands broke in the UK (The Killers) before getting
signed and blowing up over here (Coldplay, Radiohead, etc).

Touring is the only medium left that is not replaced by technology. The band
who establishes the touring market is the band who will last.
[Editor’s Note:  Very true!}

DO NOT tour in the dart board fashion with one gig in Texas and the other in
Boston. This is a waste of energy. Market online and build the band in a
three state radius. You will get better focus on the advertising and more
for your dollar as well as less exhaustion from traveling.
[Editor’s Note:  Couldn’t agree more!]

-David P.

*****

1.       Get a promoter
[Editor’s Note:  Why type of promoter? Radio? Tour?]

2.       Pay  radio station(s) to get airplay for my song(s)
[Editor’s Note:  I don’t think payola works if you’re an indie artist.]

3.       Make video clips for each of my songs
[Editor’s Note:  If you can make a video for $300-$3,000, go for it.
Otherwise you’ll never see your money back.  Videos don’t sell CDs.
Er, not unless you’re Ok Go and make a video as cheaply and brilliantly as
the one for the “treadmill” song!]

4.       Do better looking press kit, redo my CD design, re-write my bio,
redo my website, do my business cards, make tons of CD’s to shop them all
over.

[Editor’s Note:  Press kits are a waste of money. Who do you need to send
them to?  Everything is done online these days anyhow. Why waste money pressing
expensive B&W or color photos?  A decent web site? That might be worth spending a few
hundred bucks on, again, but no more than $1,000.]

5.       Definitely invest in my own studio, write more songs and record
them professionally and promote them and explore my talent even further.
[Editor’s Note:  Great idea.  If you invest in your own studio you can
record whenever you want and also rent it out to other musician’s and maybe engineer and produce for
other up and coming artists. That’s your best idea yet!]

-Marina

*****

Ah!  I believe with the fall of the CD and the rise of the MP3 and return of
the live show I would focus on recording, web based promotion, and touring.
Recording – ($10K) would get me a professional grade home studio.  I could
write and record at my leisure, not being under someone else’s time
constraints or worrying about an hourly budget.  I would sell those
recording (CD’s at gigs) for more money.

[Editor’s Note: Sounds good!]

Web Based promotion – I would scour the internet, trade magazines, seminars,
and networking events for promotional web sites.  I would join every
reputable site I found and at the highest membership level for maximum
exposure.  I would submit submit submit. ($2k) That would eventually lead to
placements which would lead to more $$$.
[Editor’s Note: What is a “promotional” web site?”]

I would have massive Myspace and Youtube marketing to get more people to my
shows($1k)
[Editor’s Note:  That’s a great idea!]

I would look for the next Myspace/Youtube and get myself established early
on. ($1k)
[Editor’s Note: Again, good thinking!]

I would continue to find vocal placement services for film, tv, demos, and
every other avenue available to make money and make myself heard therefore
making more $$$ as I do now singing.
[Editor’s Note:  Hiring True Talent. Smart. VERY smart :)]

I would get on every Itunes, Napster, Rhapsody, CD, Ohiogo baby type
web-based music sales site.($1k)
[Editor’s Note: It shouldn’t cost you to do this – isn’t CD baby $35?]

I would keep working with every radio station I could to get plugs, airtime,
and relationships going with the DJs.

Touring – I would by a large used Winnebago ($15k – $20k), Convert it to
Veggie fuel ($3K)
[Editor’s Note: Very environmentally friendly but can you refuel on the
road?  You could definitely get some press by being “green” esp if you figure
out a unique way to do it – maybe passing out free light bulbs at your gigs
and get GE to sponsor you!]

I’ve still got $~60K for living during my touring.  I don’t need to buy gas
because of the veggie fuel (It works, my buddy has a Veggie Bus he bought
and converted for $8K total!)  I don’t need hotel rooms ’cause the Winnie
has a shower, fridge, stove, and beds.
[Editor’s Note:  Smart!]

The recording equipment would fit on the Winnie so I could record on the
road.
[Editor’s Note:  Not sure about the sound quality there but for some demos
that might work!]

I already have pretty good musical gear.  Say I needed  a bigger
better PA, I could upgrade for less than $5K and have everything I need to
play a small venue.  Anything larger will have it’s own PA.  With wireless
internet I can do my promotion from the road.  I’m a singer/songwriter so I
don’t need a band, I do great with an acoustic.
[Editor’s Note:  Still, wouldn’t it be cheaper to drive a small car (hybrid)
and stay in cheap motels than tour around in your Winnie?]

If it grew and I made enough $$$ with promotion, touring, placements,
ect…I would hire a couple
other musicians..  I would be going for paid gigs to supplement this income.
I would spend $5K on CD’s, posters, flyers, and t-shirts which I would be
selling to make more money.

Right now I have to work a full time job so I don’t have time for all of
this.  With $100K, I could spend around $50K for the recording/music gear I
would need, touring vehicle, and promotional materials.  The other $50K
would take care of feeding me and my one person crew that would help with
sales, promotion, tour organization, and marketing (this person is my
fiance, a contract attorney, and very willing to live this lifestyle I am
describing.)  It would also ensure keeping the maintenance up on the Winnie.
We could make that $50K work indefinately as we would be generating income
with this income.

Thanks,
-CP
[Editor’s Note:  Yours is the best plan I’ve seen so far!  Very well thought
out!]

*****

I know that with $100,000 there’s a TON my band can do. We’re not some
semi-popular local Hollywood band who plays once or twice a month and then
sits back and enjoys being recognized while eating pizza at The Rainbow.

On the contrary, we’re a very popular local band who leaves town right after we
play a sold out home-town show to play out of city/state for small audiences
to realize that we have A LOT more work to do to get the kind of recognition
that we really want… which is more than the occasional spotting at the
rainbow.  Hahaha.

So with $100,00 i would put it ALL towards touring.  For us, our tours pay
for themselves.  We earn enough in selling merch and getting paid by the
clubs to cover all expenses for the road.  So I wouldn’t use the $$$ for
gas, or transportation, or food, or accommodations.  I also wouldn’t use it for
making more merchandise because the money we make on our tours pay for that
as well.

I would use a portion of the $$$ for ad time on radio stations in local
markets that we tour in and hope that generates spins on radio in the cities we
visit across the 12 western united states.
[Editor’s Note:  Great idea except radio ads are VERY expensive and not
that effective.  You’d get a better bang for your buck on cable TV.]

Let’s face it, bands don’t need a major label anymore for distribution.
[Editor’s Note:  Here, here!  If only more artists would realize this!]

Tower Records declared bankruptcy and most of the big record stores are
really suffering.  Digital distribution is not all that hard to attain.  So with
our band on every major digital distribution company like itunes, napster,
rhapsody, cdbaby, etc etc etc, our music is already available to anyone who
can point an click from here to some African village with a laptop and an
internet connection.

So the only question is how to drive people to go purchase our product?

My band has seen through first hand experience that heavy touring is a huge
help.  We play upwards of 20 shows every month.  And there is a direct
correlation between the number of shows we play and the number of online
sales we see.  But how do we expand that?  Opening for bigger bands helps a
LOT!
[Editor’s Note: Sounds like you’re doing GREAT]

We started off on New Years Eve opening for “THE KILLERS” and we’ve seen a
big push in sales since that show. But without being attached to a major
record label those shows are hard to come by.  There are festival tours that
have helped us as well… We were a part of the VANS WARPED TOUR over the
summer and saw some great numbers through that tour. But again, indie bands
have a hard time nailing down these types of large audience tours/shows.

So it’s all about marketing if you ask me. Every cent of that $100,000 needs
to go towards marketing.  So radio ads ONLY if you’re touring in the
markets you’re buying ad time in helps I think.  But I would also spend that money
on making some kind of fresh new video and hope for the viral type of spread
that “OK GO” saw with their YouTube video footage of their treadmill antics.

Beyond that I would also use the money for guerrilla marketing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_marketing
and street marketing to spread the word. But before this is possible a legit
street-team has to be developed to help with this push. Guerrilla marketing
(although the cheaper means of marketing) also costs money.  And if you’re
just going to do it in your home town it’s not worth it.  Again, I go back
to wanting to be recognized at The Rainbow or wanting something more… so
having a street team in place, then supplying that street team with
materials all at the same time, and making a big marketing push altogether
in the 12 different states that we tour continuously, would be a major help
to us.

THEN, and only then… I’d put a down payment on an RV so we can travel in
style! hahahahah. just kidding…. get in the back of a windowless work van
(astrovan) and slum it!  Use the money where you need it, not on comfort you
prissy LA f*cks!  Hahahahahahaha!

Marketing marketing marketing!!!  As I said, bands don’t need majors for
distribution anymore.  We DO need their tour support but if you just get out
there and make some sacrifices for a while you can develop a strong enough
fan base to cover touring expenses… so marketing marketing marketing!!!
It’s the one area where major labels still have a stronghold on bands
because of all the money they can throw to back you.  I still think it takes
a million dollars to say “hello” in the music industry, but $100,000 is a
tenth of the way there and a GREAT place to start!!!!

I hope this helps.

-Jonny

[Editor’s Note:  Again, really great and SO well thought out!  Keep up the great work!]

*****

What would I do with $100,000?

Well for starters I would stop procrastinating over every excuse I have!
[Editor’s Note: Really?  I mean, really?  I don’t buy that.  I think an
artist, if driven, will figure out a way to work, tour, etc. with or without money.  An artist
that says, “Oh, I’ll do it as soon as I’m signed or someone invests a lot of money in me” is just
lying to themself.  Sorry but I’ve seen it first hand.]

Not enough money for demos, music gear, travel…..need to keep my job,
missed this showcase coz had to work, missed that seminar coz day job had
overwhelmed my vision…my focus…my every dream and reason for leaving my
Mum and Dad, moving to USA, saying goodbye to my aging dog, all those
weddings I missed, funerals I heard about on emails and new babies that are all now
just  simple lyrics in my songs that sit on the shelf or coffee table best
used as a coaster!
[And a list of excuses….Successful artists don’t sit around complaining. They get out there and DO IT!]

Firstly I would get my studio/producing software really working…I mean
really working..not trying to program my songs through my uncle’s headphones,
a borrowed speaker and some copied programs.  I would invest in a
really good microphone as I believe sometimes the song may not be programmed
by the latest producer, but a very good true clear vocal in can be breath
taking.

I would then find out every music festival in the US (and OS) and attend all
the ones I’ve always dreamed of going to… SxSW, etc. and not
first complain about the cost of airline tickets/hotels… I would create
backing tracks so I could take them with me in case there were open mic nights
and find out who and where I could send my songs to and try to see them
personally while I was there(dreaming of course…but hey it’s my dream!.)
[Editor’s Note:  Sounds like fun and a vacation.  Where’s your marketing plan?]

I would also not be so tight on hiring other players to perform on my
recordings and get someone really great behind me so I could focus on the
performance.

[Editor’s Note:  Blowing money on good musicians to play on your record or tour with?
Are you kidding me?  Again, that’s great if you look at music as a hobby but if you want
to do this for a LIVING you’ve got it all wrong. That’s what a major label would do!]

On a sad note I may even reimburse myself for those 1000 cd’s and studio
time I had done in 2000 and all the stamps and special deliveries before
mp3’s….but mainly I would focus on putting most of it into the package so
there were no flaws no loose ends, gaps or room for another rehearsal.  If I am
to be rewarded w/ all that I put in then I would rather wait for the rewards
after the hard work than take a pay check now.

I guess the biggest question I’m asking myself while writing this is…Am I
doing enough now w/out the $100K????

-Brooke.

*****

Since it’s indie:

First off I would use the money to record one great song if the band/group/artist can
pull that off without drama, that’s the first test.  NOT A GOOD SONG,
NOT AN AVERAGE SONG… NOT AN ALRIGHT SONG…A GREAT SONG!

[Editor’s Note:  Money doesn’t make great songs.  Hard work and talent does.
Go do this now – you don’t need $100,000 to write a great song.  All you need
is pen and paper.  How much does that cost??!]

I would hire all the right people in order to get that one song that gives
you goose bumps!  Not a “single” in the minds of corporate labels
but that GREAT SONG from a real level that can make
the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

[Editor’s Note:  If you’re talking about hiring a professional songwriter to write with you, that’s not a bad idea!
Someone that has written current hits that are on the radio today, not hits 10, 20 or 30 years ago as that
type of songwriter is likely out of touch with today’s music sound!]

That type of music that seems to be lost nowadays but that will
change and I’ll be apart of that revolt.  If the band
or artist couldn’t come up with that one GREAT SONG
then the rest of the money don’t matter it would be a
waste. We just better off buying 90,000 jumbo jacks
with it and passing them out to the needy. At least we
contributed to feeding the hunger of about 90,000
hungry people plus tax, might be tax write off too in
a good way!  There are many factors in this question but
regardless of what the corporate world thinks…it’s
all about the music!  So if the band had to spend
100,000 on makin that one song that can change the
world that would be my bet because it would change the
game one day.

[Editor’s Note:  Jesus, there is no way I would spend $100,000 to make one song!
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  If you have
an amazing song but no way to market or promote it, no one will hear it!  Rethink your
logic here!]

But if it took them that much to make
that song I wouldn’t have invested in them in the
first place because the artist has issues. That’s my
two cents…I got more cents to add.. but it probably
be a novel…thanks for asking Jennifer my pleasure!

-Charles

http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

“Motivation and determination are 1000 times more potent than talent alone”
-Some guy online
“Be nice to everyone.  You never know if the intern will be the next
president of your record company.”
-Michael Buble
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“People have to learn they have to juggle everything until they get lucky.
They need to work a steady job, make a living and make time for the band.
They need to take all the money they make from the band and throw it back
into the band”
–David Draiman, Vocalist for Disturbed, interviewed in Music Connection