Archive for December, 2012


Not Everything You Do Has To Be Successful

December 18, 2012
I recently received an email from one of my loyal readers asking me to write something “more positive” because the last “sabotage” email made him feel bad.

Well, geez, that certainly wasn’t my intention.

But sometimes you do have to go through uncomfortable feelings and changes to make a change for the better, right?

In any case, I’ve noticed a lot of frazzled nerves out there lately.  Blame the economy, the holidays or nothing at all.

So let me try to write something to make you feel better and encourage you!


I feel like a lot of artists out there feel this pressure to “be successful” and I’m not sure why.

Maybe it comes from your own high standards?  If so, that’s good!

Maybe it comes from pressure from your family or how you were raised?  If so, not as good but still ok.

Maybe it comes from unrealistic expectations?  If so, that’s not so good.

But I think a lot of the problem lies in how you define success.


I used to talk to my best friend from college and lament that I wasn’t “successful” because I never managed a multi-platinum, well known band or artist.

He said, “What are you talking about?  You teach a music class at UCLA, you have licensed songs to dozens of TV shows and films.  You have taken bands out of obscurity and gotten them known throughout the industry.  Heck, everyone in the music business knows who you are (managers, label Presidents, A&R executives, film and TV executives, music supervisors).  You’ve been written up in the New York Times, Variety and Hollywood Reporter.  How can you NOT consider yourself a success?”

And he’s right.

Let’s look at the definition of success:



1.  the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2.  the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3.  a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
4.  a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.
5.  Obsolete , outcome.

Well, I think we can omit #5.

If you look at definition #1, that says it all.
How you define “favorable” is really up to you!
I’d say, if you’re making music, and you enjoy it, you’re successful.
But how you choose to define “favorable” is all up to you!

#2  Well, if you need wealth or honors to consider yourself successful, that’s fine.  But it’s probably a less healthy view of success, as my friend from college pointed out.

#3  Again, how do you define success?  I would say, if you think things went well, they went well.

#4  Again, how you define “successful.”


A lot of artists, in my experience, have placed far too much emphasis on “success” and define it by the celebrity or financial aspect of it.

Or they think they need to get their songs licensed for them to be “good.”

That isn’t fair or realistic though, now is it?

Mariah Carey is one of my favorite singers and songwriters of all time.  But she rarely, if ever, gets her songs licensed to film/tv.  Maybe she doesn’t want to…I don’t know.  But her “sound” is popular for radio and concerts, not so much for licensing.  She has sold over 200 million records worldwide!!!!

However, if she hired me to promote her music to film/tv, she too would have a hard time with it because her “sound” and “style” just isn’t what most music supervisors want or need.

Does that make her a failure?  Or less worthy as an artist?



You know me, I’m  go getter.

But I believe you need to cut yourself some slack sometimes.

NO DOUBT, the HUGELY successful former ska band released a CD a few weeks ago.  It’s being considered a “flop” because their previous albums have sold millions.  Thirty-three million to be exact.

Gwen is an international star with ads on TV, a clothing line and a huge touring fan base:

Does one “flop” album define her?  Of course not.  I’m sure it is disappointing but you cannot let one thing get you down.

Focus on the big picture.

Besides, let’s face, CDs aren’t selling like they used to.  Only a handful of artists can even move a few hundred thousand CDs these days, let alone a million (Taylor Swift.)  So, in my mind, if you’re selling ANYTHING at shows or on iTunes, that is good.  And if you aren’t selling anything, that’s fine too, isn’t it?

Do you really need other people’s validation to consider yourself a success?

Maybe you do.

But in my mind, if you make music and you love it, that’s all the success you need.

(Please feel free to forward this email and this email alone to members of your band or other artists you know. But please do not post it on a web site or blog without asking permission from the author. Thanks!)Copyright @2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without author’s prior consent. 

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management ~ 
True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business


Are you sabotaging your music career?

December 14, 2012

I often wonder if artists are sabotaging their music career? Either on purpose or subconsciously?

You know, it’s that whole “fear of success”

or “fear of failure” thing – YOU MUST READ THIS!!!

What do I mean?

Here are some examples.

Let me know if any sound familiar:

1) You don’t respond to emails in a timely manner 

Every successful person I know responds to emails right away. Or as soon as humanly possible.

If you take days, weeks or months to get back to someone, how do you expect that person to a) take you seriously? b) have anything happen with your career?

Major label acts respond to their emails right away.

Do you?

2) You don’t listen to good advice 

I was talking to a music journalist friend last weekend and she said ALL her manager friends complain that their clients whine that they aren’t more successful – yet won’t listen to their manager’s advice.

I get it.

You don’t want to do the real work that it takes to “get to the next level” so you sit and complain and whine and do nothing – then blame your manager, the industry, the economy or someone else for your lack of success instead of looking at yourself.

3) You don’t play out 

How do you expect to make money if you don’t play live?

Unless you write the most film/tv/ad friendly songs in the world, touring and ticket sales/merch are really the bread and butter for most bands.

4) You don’t market your career every day 

You are in a competitive industry. Music is probably the most competitive industry on the planet except maybe acting.

Remember myspace and how many artists had music up there, hoping to “get discovered” and “make it big?”

You know who did?

The artists who were good AND who spent hours and hours EVERY SINGLE DAY emailing fans and strangers – asking them to check out their music.


5) You think your manager is going to do all the work 

Wow, do you REALLY think your manager, a “real” manager, that is, is going to do all the work?

Wrong again.

A good manager, or should I say, a SMART manager, will only work as hard as you’re working.

Why should someone else put in hours and hours a day of their own time, when they likely aren’t getting paid, to advance YOUR career unless you’re doing the same thing?

Answer is: they shouldn’t.

6) You don’t make your music BETTER 

Everyone needs help with songwriting. Everyone could be a better writer, myself included.

You need to write with other songwriters and artists to get better.

And the more you write, the better you get, right?

Take constructive feedback and criticism.

Don’t just listen to your friends and family who will always tell you, “it’s great man.”

Make people tell you the honest truth!

Otherwise, how are you going to get any better?

7) You don’t keep in regular contact with your manager / teamwork 

I’m amazed that artists will not be in touch for days, weeks or months at a time – and then be upset nothing has happened with their career.

Managing an artist is teamwork — and you’re part of the team!!!

Sure, a manager can do work for you on their own and should – but if you aren’t emailing or talking several times a day (or week), how are things going to move forward??

Think of management as a basketball team – and you’re part of the team.

Sure, your manager can go out on the court and shoot some balls and get lucky on their own.

But unless you’re out there on the court with them and help them shoot and block and pass the ball, how else can you expect to beat the other team?

How can you expect to go up against other bands that have every member working hard WITH their manager if your manager isn’t getting help from you?

Basketball is like music – it’s hard to win a game when you’re the only one on the team!!

8) You blame others for your lack of success and/or make up excuses 

You MUST MUST MUST read this!

9) You don’t market yourself using social media 

You MUST MUST MUST be using twitter and facebook and youtube and instagram and other social media tools to grow your fan base!

10) You make poor choices / hire the wrong team members 

You hire the wrong manager or lawyer or publicist. You trust the shady characters instead of the good ones. I see this all the time – artists that are just clueless about people who are taking advantage of them, yet they don’t sign with someone who is honest and hard working who may tell them the truth instead of stroking their ego and telling them what they want to hear.

If you hire a company, did you research them before you hired them? Did you check their references? Did you Google them? But most of all, did you listen to your GUT instinct about them?

Do you have a good instinct about people or are you often wrong?

**If you don’t learn to choose the right people, the wrong people will certainly choose you!**


Those are the eight I could think of – can you add any others to the list?

(Please feel free to forward this email and this email alone to members of your band or other artists you know. But please do not post it on a web site or blog without asking permission from the author. Thanks!)

Copyright @2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without author’s prior consent.

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management ~ True Talent PR
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business