Archive for the ‘Loyalty’ Category

h1

Comments re: Loyalty and the music business

October 30, 2009

Wow, I received so many great responses from the loyalty email that went out.

Here is some of what you guys had to say:

That was a very nice email. I really appreciate that. It shows a lot about your company. I’ve been receiving your emails for a long time but I had no idea your company was run by such a good hearted person (or people?). Thats a really nice message you are sending out there. Well, my work is seasonal (painter) so when spring time comes I’ll have some more cash, and I’ll sign up with you guys. I make a lot of music on a regular basis and I’m sure you will find some use it. I hope we can keep in touch.

Take Care,

Aaron

*****

Great article Jennifer!

It’s sad that today loyalty is not rewarded… but now, with a failing economy, people realizing that they have placed their eggs in the wrong baskets and the music business going down the tubes, maybe the tone will change and we’ll go back to what’s real and what’s right.

It’s all about karma, I agree!

Happy New Year,

-Natalie

*****

That was one of the best and truest emails I have received from you.

I was in a similar situation where an artist I was working with let this other guy get in his head telling him I wanted to keep him in my shadow and didn’t want him to shine.

{Editor’s Note: Wow, that’s incredible. I had that same “line” used on an artist I used to manage. That I was trying to “keep them in my shadow” and I was preventing him somehow from being successful. Ha. So as a result, the artist fired me, signed with another manager, publisher, and label and has disappeared off the map completely. Ha. When I managed that artist they got gigs performing in front of 10,000 people. Now the artist barely plays out and when they do, it’s in a coffee shop I would have never booked them in years ago. Karma baby….}

I was trying to look out for both of our best interest, now 3 years later, two albums he completed are property of that gentlemen and he is giving them to one of his other artists. Now with him seeing I was right he wants to work with me but I can’t do it cause of that situation, so your story really hit home.

{Editor’s Note: I’m really sorry that that happened to you as it happened to me. I think that “line” is used often on artists to get them to sign with someone shady – the shady person wants to steal them away from the person who has done all the grunt work – the hard work developing them from day one and it’s really sad that people will stop at nothing – lying and cheating and stealing to get an artist to leave their original manager or label, etc. but it happens every day. Just be savvy and know that these sharks are just out there for their own benefit. If you’re doing well, if your manager is doing their job, stick with them. Otherwise, you may find yourself signing all your rights away to someone who is unethical, a cheater, and ultimately you are the one having your songs and career stolen by this “new” person who has nothing but their own selfish motives in store..}

-T.N.

*****

Hi Jennifer,

I have enjoyed your articles and writings. They are truly informative and often times inspirational. Thanks a lot for them and keep them coming.

Thanks for the time.

-Young M.

*****

Great blog! I’m a big believer in that too…..it’s not about WHO you know….it’s who you KNOW and more importantly who knows you 🙂

-KJ

*****

Thank you for that Jennifer. I agree 100%. It all comes back to you in the end. No matter what…

-Nima

*****

Great article!

People are users. I used to have a friend/drummer who would use people left and right. If you had something he needed you were his best friend one moment and once he got what he needed you were trash. It gets you nowhere.

[Editor’s Note: Well, my point wasn’t really that people are users…more to be aware of the “business people” who will try to take advantage of you and get you to sign with them, and then sign with their manager friend or their label/publishing company when in reality they will do very little for you but write you a check and destroy your career. I’ve seen it happen so many times. Of course, there are people who are users also and I would advise to stay clear of them – it could be the drummer in a band or another band member or a fan or an agent or a manager – always go with your gut is what I say!]
Networking and keeping connections is the way to be.

Regards,

Travis

*****

Holy crap i have been the rung on this ladder of #$@% usage!

I’ve had them come back. I’ll even offer to resign them — but with very strict contracts.

I had one artist that I could get a deal for in a week but the person wanted a 3 month contract with a 30 day out clause! I think she needs Santa Clause!

I’ve introduced nobodies to big players and if they try and screw with me, my big players dump them.

Karma is king.

The other thing is that all this bouncing around adds time…and I’m sorry but once you’re past your early 20’s (as a female) you need to find something else to do. Like be a songwriter or a ditch digger. Or you need to be in a band touring your ass off.

[Editor’s Note: Well, plenty of female artists “make it” after their early 20’s – look at Sheryl Crow – but you’re right in that the music business (major labels anyhow) are youth oriented so they want you when you’re a teenager or maybe up to 25 – past that they fear you won’t appeal to kids and they move on. But plenty of “older” artists break at 30 or 35 and you can always be on an indie label or your own label and tour no matter what your age. In fact, after managing many “younger” artists and bands over the years, the one artist that is still out there touring and making new records is my oldest artist – all my artists in their 20’s gave up.]

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

-James

*****

Excellent and well said. We ALL need to to remember this, especially when the dollar signs/ambition start to distract us from our primary reasons for doing this in the first place: art, expression, camaraderie. Being true to our music is the same as relationships; it must have integrity and honesty.

Thanks!

Peace,

Joseph

*****

Hi Jennifer,
I think this needs to be absolutely essential reading for everyone trying to break into the business. Wow. I wish more people understood the concept.

Happy 2009!!

-Van

*****

This statement is quite true.

I’m doing everything myself with lil’ or nothing. I got my own small business, but it ain’t easy doing everything yourself. I don’t have any lawyers, managers, etc. to back me up, it’s just me.

I collaborated with artists from around my local town, did some shows and most of them were shady. I did some for free, but now I just do me. No one’s loyal anymore, and you don’t hear that word.

I try to do things with lil’ or no money at all. I’m the realest anybody’s gonna get!

-Henry

[Editor’s Note: Again, please don’t misunderstand. I think plenty of people can be and ARE loyal. Of all my artists, only one wasn’t. My point was just to artists out there – be loyal! Don’t be a bad person. It will come back to bite you in the #@$#@, I promise you that…]

*****

What happens when the manager screws the artist?

-Dennis

[Editor’s Note: Well, this email thread wasn’t about that. Sure, I’ve seen the other side. I’ve heard horror stories of managers screwing over artists. But you know what? It’s usually the fault of the artist for not doing their research on the manager. Too often, artists just believe what a manager promises them instead of even spending even just an hour googling the manager/over-promiser and checking their references — or even just going with their gut instinct not to trust someone. I’ve warned countless artists not to sign with XYZ manager but ultimately, they make irrational, quick decisions, often because the manager is pressuring them to sign on the dotted line right away or the offer goes away. Listen, any honest and ethical manager or person in this business won’t pressure you. They’ll want you to make a good decision. They’ll let you take your time. It’s the shady ones that demand you sign with them right here and right now. Why? Because if you take the time to do your research and ask around and check into them, they’re afraid you’ll find out the truth – that they are shady and untrustworthy and that you should run for the hills.]

*****

Hi Jennifer,
All business, including the entertainment business, is about relationships. The shady, “trade-up style ladder climbers” you see in this business are alive and well in other businesses as well. These people just don’t know yet that the philosophy they choose to live by will define the quality of their careers. I search out those whose experience speaks to their character by the display of long held relationships and great reputations. “Linked In” is a great site for networking because of the fact that it allows people to say that they worked with a person and why. We all grow together, or fall together. To abandon ship, or trade up for a better ship is the mark of a person of low character. “What comes around, goes around” is not an empty cliche; thirty years as a paid entertainer has taught me that. It’s an unfortunate commentary on the state of business today that there would be a need for an entire email about that, although I know from experience that it’s true.

Good luck in 2009,

Jonathan

[Editor’s Note: Perfect. Isn’t the expression “What goes around, comes around?” Anyhow, I get what you’re saying and couldn’t agree more!]

*****

You are dead on with this one. People do size you up in this town and see you as a benefits package. Not just in the music business, but even regular “friends”. I definitely know what you are talking about.

-Geoff

*****

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for the great work that you do! We always appreciate reading your thoughts on the business…you seem to have accumulated a lot of wisdom over your career. Many of your email messages have struck a chord (pun intended) with us. This particular one about loyalty in the business is especially striking.

I always try to discuss with the band many of the issues you bring to the table. They are between the ages of 16-20, and are on the cusp of exciting things (they have been offered deals with several labels, and are trying to be mindful about any decisions they make!!) I feel the more informed and thoughtful they are about the reality of the music business, the better chance they have at making a prolific career for themselves.

Again, thanks for sharing your experience with us! You really make a positive impact!

-Shanna

[Editor’s Note: Thanks Shanna and to all of you who wrote such nice, positive things. It really means a lot that I’ve struck such a chord with everyone out there!]

*****

Boy I tell you that is EXACTLY how it is here on Music Row-Nashville.

I thought I was the only one that noticed that kind of stuff……

Thank you and have a Happy New Year Jennifer.

Stan

*****

Hi Jennifer,

Very nice article on loyalty. It really resonated with me because I too highly value the virtue of loyalty.

Happy New Year,

Ed

*****

Well said Jen! I don’t use contracts but am thinking about using them now because I’ve been screwed a few times this past year.

The one thing that really hit home to me is that we all talk to each other, because it’s so true, especially among publicists, who

can not only spot bad clients from a mile away, but bogus journalists! Thanks and happy new year.

-Anonymous

[Editor’s Note: What? You don’t use contracts? Why? You’re opening yourself up to getting screwed over.

Why would any smart businessperson do that?]

*****

Heya, Jennifer!

I totally agree.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into or had to
work with unethical people.  I’m in this career for the long-run and it’s
important for me to keep close to those who have supported me and those I
trust.

Too many sharks in this biz.  Bleh.

Looking forward to submitting more songs to you!
– Gabe

*****

Hi Jennifer…

Appreciate the comments and point of view. It’s an issue I’ve dealt with through the years from time to time.

In 1975, I moved to Nashville. (I didn’t even know it was in the south back then!)

I went to try and sell songs to Johnny Cash.

My second day there, I had an appointment with the song screener at the House of Cash.

Having to take the bus, I got to the appointment a few hours early.

I had a beard and long hair then too, “pre-Willie Nelson” and I’m in the south!

The receptionist was a nice young lady and we chatted off and on.

Being new to town, she invited me to lunch after my appointment.

Shortly before it was my time in walks Big John Cash himself.

He says to his receptionist “Hi Baby” and she says “Hi Daddy”.

Turns out she was Kathy Cash, one of his four daughters.

The appointment came and went, my songs were passed on but I still went to lunch with Kathy.

On the way there, she was talking about how concerned her dad was with Elvis’s behavior.

I’m like “yeah, uh-uh”.

I’m floored but tried to be cool.

I stayed in Nashville for 7 months, in which time I would hang out with Kathy and her boyfriend some.

She introduced me to her sister Roseanne but she was a different sort. Already guarded and had her own career to make, she barely acknowledged me. Kathy had a problem with not knowing if people liked her for herself or for her famous dad. I saw her cry about this too.

Point being, I never “jammed” her, never asked if she could get my songs to her Dad.

I was that close but that far.

I spent a weekend with them at a family cabin out in the country, remember looking at all these awards and trophy’s but still, I couldn’t ask Kathy and still glad I didn’t. I have lots of other regrets about my stay there but not that…

Another loyalty issue is with band mates.

I stuck with a drummer way longer than I should have, because of the friendship.

I had other players I was hiring stop playing on my gigs because of him.

One such player called and said I’m hurting my own reputation.

I stuck with him out of loyalty though.

Finally we got too old for the “dream”, reality and responsibility settled in (marriage, kids).

When I review some of the recordings, some I cringe, these other players were right and were trying to pass on a helpful tip.

Loyalty is good in music but only up to a certain point. Hard call when it’s old friends…Thanks for the great subject…

Sincerely,

Dan

*****

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

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity
www.truetalentmgmt.com

“More than eighty percent of self-made millionaires in America began with nothing or in many cases, less than nothing.”
— Brian Tracy

“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”
— Malcolm Forbes


h1

Loyalty and the music business

January 1, 2009

For some reason, loyalty is a word not often written about in the music business.

No, the sharks in the music business (and many folks that work in the entertainment industry) seem to live and breath by the concept of placating one’s own ego and doing whatever it takes to succeed, as long as it isn’t illegal.

And sure, I bet a lot of those people make more money than I do and drive fancier cars, etc.

But at what cost?

Being a terrible human being?

As an artist, are you willing to do “whatever it takes” to get ahead???

***

I’m an incredibly loyal person — sometimes I think to a fault.

I’ve lived in the same building for over 10 years.

I’ve driven the same car for over 10 years.

My motto is – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

I keep friends forever – unless of course they move away (or stop treating me well, become too negative, go crazy, etc). (And even then I stay in touch with friends from back home and visit them whenever I’m in town.)

I’ve noticed, there seems to be an attitude in the music business (and the entertainment industry in general) that some people have — “I’ll just use this person for what I need” and then drop them and move on to someone bigger and better. “Trading up” is what it’s called.

Not going anywhere?

Hire a manager…then when they get you successful, drop them and go sign with a “bigger” more established manager.

Start out on an indie label, and then when the CD blows up, skip out on them and sign with a major.

Lucky enough to find a small agent to book you shows? Great. Use them until a bigger agent comes along…

Hire an attorney that does work for you for free (or at a great rate), then go with another “bigger” attorney when a deal comes your way.

I think you get my point….

And you know, the irony is, these “higher up” people will convince you that you need to sign with this label or that manager or this attorney or that agent to become huge. When in reality, they are really just telling you this because the system feeds itself – the label guy wants you to sign with his manager friend because they are friends and his manager friend sends him bands. The manager wants you to sign with this attorney because they are friends. The agent wants you to sign with this business manager because they play golf every other Sunday. The whole system is built on a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” and while I don’t dismiss the power of being in that inner “clique” or “circle” you really can succeed with a great manager outside of that golf system.

Look at U2’s manager!
Many successful artists have been managed and represented by the same person for the duration of their career. U2. Tori Amos. The list goes on I’m sure.

And the artists that try to “save a buck” and fire their manager right before (or right after) something big happens? Well, look at the Killers. Their first CD was a smash. Did anyone really care about their 2nd CD? And now they are vanishing into obscurity.

I bet if they’d kept their original manager around they’d still be popular.

Those people who support you early on – whether they are your friends, your fans, your first manager, label, attorney, agent, etc. oftentimes have your best interest at heart. The people that come later on see dollars signs in front of their eyes – and the reason some of these “bigger” people are successful is because they’ve lied, cheated and stolen from others to get the artists they have, the money they have, and the things they have. Sure, not all successful people are like this. But a lot of those at the top didn’t get there by being nice. Many of them were ruthless and unethical. Do you really want to go into business with someone with no morals or values? I wouldn’t. I rather have my integrity and 10 year old car ;P

Besides, if you sign with someone who is unethical, what’s preventing them from screwing YOU over next time around?

****

Be a good human being.

If someone is doing a great job for you, whether it’s your label, your agent, your manager, your attorney, etc, stick with them.

After all, wouldn’t you want someone to treat you the same way?

And always remember – karma.

After all, just imagine for a second how you would feel if your band got signed and the only “catch” was that you were going to be replaced? Can you even imagine that for a second? Well, try to.

I’ll leave you with this story:

Once there was an artist I was going to manage. Well, turns out, after giving away countless hours of free advice and help to see if we would make a good team, it turns out that artist was also getting free advice and help from not one, but 2 other managers, saying they were going to sign with them also…and this artist was (and still is) unsigned to a label deal.

Wow.

Already being shady and unethical even before you get any type of deal?

Hmmm, well, the good news is that it’s a VERY very small community (especially these days) in the music business. Screw over one manager, maybe you’ll be ok. Maybe….if that manager gives up and gets out of the business…But screw over 2 or 3? Hmm, people talk.

Don’t be surprised that if you screw over one person in this business, your career suddenly comes to a stand-still and you have no idea why.

People talk behind closed doors and when they find out an artist or anyone in this business is behaving unethically and being shady, well, that artist or person’s career suddenly may come to a screeching halt.

Be loyal to those that support you early on.

Maybe then you’ll have a career like U2’s….after all, Paul McGuinness has been their manager since the very beginning. Same with Keane’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_McGuinness

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

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity
www.truetalentmgmt.com

“More than eighty percent of self-made millionaires in America began with nothing or in many cases, less than nothing.”
— Brian Tracy

“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”
— Malcolm Forbes