Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Not Who You Know, It's What You Do

We've all heard the old saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." I think this is one of those tired old sayings that allows people to shift any responsibility off of themselves for not succeeding at something. If you're not moving forward in your field, you can just throw your arms up and assert that there's no one to help you and you don't have that integral connection that would elevate you to new heights.

This sort of mindset implies that if someone in a position of power would just come along and give you that push you need, the rest would just fall into place and success would be inevitable. I don't really believe that's how it works. Think about all the artists out there that do have serious resources behind them and fail anyway. Whether they have a major label contract in place, or a close friend or family member who is extremely connected in the music business constantly offering great opportunities, most of the time nothing really happens.

Initially, I was thinking that the reverse of the above saying was true: "It's not who you know it's what you know." But as I thought about it, that didn't seem to ring true either because even if you do know a lot in terms of being a tremendous talent at your craft, being business savvy and having a solid grasp on the business you're in, it still doesn't guarantee success. So I think the title of this blog is what it's all about. "It's not who you know, it's what you do!"

When you take control of your career and get real comfortable actively doing things to move you toward your goals, you'll attract other professionals within the music industry who can and will help you. But you have to do the work first. No one wants to get into business with a boat anchor. Music business professionals want to work with people who will contribute to staying above the water line and beyond and there's no better way to display this than to do the required work. Take big steps and make big statements and help will come in myriad ways.

If there was any truth in, "it's who you know", then the success rate of major labels would be 100% instead of 10% and Sting's son's band would be a screaming success. What's that? You didn't know Sting's son was in a band? Just having an endless pool of financial resources to pull from simply isn't enough. The A&R reps at record companies can only take their best guess at what will fly and what won't. After that, it's up to us. We decide with our wallets what is good and what is not. And as I've said before, it's not just about the music, there's a whole entertainment package involved in breaking an artist.

So if there's an artist out there whose music you don't particularily like, don't just dismiss it with, "Oh, they must know someone who handed them their success." Take a closer look to see what it is they've done to get where they are.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Money Isn't Everything

In my last blog I talked about bands/artists looking into the possibility of getting some financial assistance from investors and I just wanted to clarify that my intention was not to say that having a lot of money to throw at a business venture is the cure-all. It isn't.

I really don't believe that an abundance of money is the answer much of the time. So many of us have a great deal of opportunity all around us all the time, yet we don't take advantage of all that is already there. The most important assests you can have are the desire to do what it is you want to do, the skills and talent to do it, a high level of commitment to see it through and the ability to adapt as you go. Without these things you probably won't go very far no matter how much money you have.

There's a great quote from Bill Gates with regard to applying automation to companies to increase efficiency:

"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."

I think the same could be said about pumping money into a business whether it's a band or otherwise. Putting big dollars into a band that's a complete mess will just reveal what a mess it is because the stakes are higher. And conversely, putting money behind a band that has all its ducks in a row will reveal the greatness that has always been there on a much grander scale.

Just look at the track record of the major lables over the past four or five decades. They fail about 90% of the time, but when they win, they win big. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row and that your desire, skills and commitment are all in check. And if that's truly the case, you're increasing your chances of success tenfold.

So don't sit around making excuses about not having enough money or not having the same opportunities that others are enjoying. Get out there and start taking advantage of all the great tools (many of which are very cheap or even free) like social networking sites, music delivery services, blogging sites and so on. I think it really boils down to the fact that you have to look within for the answers you need to move forward, not outside yourself. The ability to be creative is priceless, so tap into your creative side and turn the tables so other people will be seeking the opportunity to work with you.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do You Need Help From Investors To Finance Your Music Career?

With record labels being a lot more selective regarding which artists they sign and how many they sign, it has become a lot harder for artists to secure a recording contract with the finacial resources that can be essential to getting their music to the masses. The internet has obviously leveled the playing field in many areas; however, I don't know that it's easier for indie artists to make a living doing what they love.

A level playing field sounds wonderful, but it also means that everyone has the same advantages that you do. This is where it's so incredibly important to tap into your creativity and deliver your strengths as an artist and entertainer to the world in your own unique way.


If you've tried to entice the major and indie labels out there with your music and you've come up short, there are still other avenues that you could look into as viable alternatives. It's really just the money you're after, so why not look into enticing an invester with deep pockets to invest in your music career. With the proper financial backing, you could afford to hire all the resources that labels usually provide such as marketers, lawyers, publicists, radio trackers, etc. In short, you could build a team of professionals around your band that will be integral to your success.


Whether it's good, bad or indifferent, money is what gets things done and helps any business advance significantly toward its goals. If you're spending nickels and dimes on your career, you're not likely to advance very far at all, so looking into ways to attract the financial support necessary is a great first step.

Here's a great blog on this very subject by Moses Avalon entitled, "Why Your Music Career Needs A Music Business Plan." One of the most important points he makes is that by going through the process of putting together a proper business plan to present to potential investers, it gives you a much greater understanding of what exactly you are trying to accomplish for yourself and thus puts you in a much stronger position.

Please take the time to click on the link and read this blog as there's very important info here that any career-minded musician should be aware of and can benefit from.