A MUST READ amazing article: “David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists – and Megastars”

February 21, 2010

This article by David Byrne is a few years old but still very relevant and important and a MUST READ for EVERY artist out there today:


In case you’ve been living under a boulder the past oh, 4-5 years, there have been seismic shifts in the way music is being consumed and as such, the “old school” ways of marketing and promoting your music are changing, evolving, sometimes dying.

Are YOU adapting to the DRASTIC changes in the music business?

For example:

If you’re still trying to get signed to a record deal, you’re likely 3 steps behind other artists. (Major label deals can work if you’re extremely hard working, young, write pop songs and have thousands of fans on myspace. A major label these days is unlikely to sign you unless you’re in this boat. But who cares? CD sales are declining and major labels have less and less power each year….)

If you’re still playing gigs only because you’re hoping to “get discovered” you’re 5 steps behind other artists. You should be playing gigs to get more gigs — and to sell CDs and MERCH, not because you’re hoping some A&R guy will “discover you”.

If you’re still focused on the “old school” ways of marketing and promoting music i.e. taking out print ads in local newspapers or magazines, worried about getting CDs into retail chains, or going after traditional press and radio, for most indie artists, you’re just swimming up stream.

If you’re still pitching songs off a CD and not able to write and record new songs, to spec, in a home studio, within a few hours or a few days, you’re less and less likely to get a song placed. Why? Because there are artists who do have these resources at their fingertips and they’re getting placements left and right!

Right now I have an artist who just recorded a cover of “Sugar Sugar” for a TV commercial and it’s being considered for the spot! But you probably aren’t in this boat because you didn’t join the tip sheet and get in the studio to do it.

Right now I have songs being considered for major feature films that were pitched to me from my tip sheet.

And TV. A hit show in primetime TV asked me for a cover of a hymn and one of my versions is up for the spot (but just barely because the artist didn’t send it to me as fast as other artists did)….


The future is here and ready or not – here it comes.

The future is the Internet – connecting with fans directly, one on one, on myspace, twitter, facebook and other social networking sites.

The future is music licensing (but realize supervisors are getting laid off left and right these days – and you’re now competing with EVERY major label artist and established band to get on even a crappy TV show. So crazy increased competition and way less demand)….but still you GOTTA do it, you GOTTA TRY!!! Because it may be a long shot but if you win, you get paid AND get exposure AND people may buy your song on iTunes because of a big placement.


People like me have become SO VALUABLE for indie artists (as well as bigger artists) as I can connect you to the film/tv world. Music supervisors can get literally THOUSANDS of emails a day from people like you that they don’t know – do you think they have time to read them much less listen to any music someone they don’t know is sending them? Or listen to music from publicists who “try” to promote their clients to film/tv? Yeah, good luck breaking through if you haven’t been at it for 8 years like I have.

The future is in artists making their own rules.

Thinking outside the box.

Getting fans and going after sponsors – even if they have to start with the local pizza joint down the street.

The future is in your hands – you can do whatever you want but if you’re waiting around to “be discovered” – well, you may be waiting a LONG time.

Put your time and energy to good use.

Take a chance.

Spend some money.

If it cost you $10-20K to record, mix and master an album, you’re CRAZY not to spend at LEAST that amount marketing and promoting it!

If I were an artist right now I would budget $5-10K for film/tv promotion, $5K for radio promotion (if I had a radio single) and $5K for Internet marketing/PR.

If you can’t afford that much, spend 1/2 that amount. Or 1/4 of that amount. But at least TRY!

Promote your music to film/tv. That’s what I do and what I do best – for the past 8+ years.

If you have a pop song or commercially viable single or two, hire me to do radio promo for you.

If you have something unique about you, I can do a small press campaign.

But film/tv and radio and press are the way to go right now.

And the Internet of course!

There are 300+ million people in the U.S.

How many of them have heard your music?


Listen, I know this may be a scary time for a lot of you out there.

Many people have lost their job and if you don’t have enough money to buy food or pay your rent, by all means, ignore this email and focus on your survival. That will always come before music.

But if you’re on the fence, or have a new CD that is coming out, or just came out in the past year or two – now has got to be the best time ever to promote it.


Because your competition is probably 1/2 or 25% or 10% of what it used to be.

Because labels and artists and people are cutting back, your music will get noticed more now if you promote it than if you did this 6-12 months ago or 6-12 months from now.

I just mailed out 100 CDs on one artist and already received word back from 2 supervisors about it. In fact, one is being passed all over the office.

That could be you!

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

~Music Marketing~Music Licensing~Music Publicity

“Anything worthwhile in life requires time, patience, and persistence.”
–Cheryl Richardson


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: