Creating A Successful Music Industry Career Starts Here
Pillar #1: Developing Your Music Success Mindset
So many musicians fill their days with busy work, so they can feel like they accomplished something. But few do the meaningful activities needed to actually move forward.
Why? Because busy work is safe. It’s comfortable.
Fear of failure can be overwhelming . . . but fear of success is the real doozy!
To be successful you must grow. And that requires you to leave your comfort zone. Over and over. You grow, you get uncomfortable. But after awhile comfort sets in again – Time to grow again. So it’s time to be uncomfortable again.
And so on.
And once you do arrive in the “major leagues” you realize you’re just a rookie. A newborn baby, so to speak . . . Well I can tell you from experience, that’s reeeeal scary.
Because now your competition for the public’s attention isn’t the other zillions of artists and bands looking to make it big. It’s Beyonce. It’s Coldplay. It’s Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Taylor Swift, J-Lo, Pink Floyd, Skrillex, and a huge array of many other internationally recognized acts.
So it’s of paramount importance that you cultivate the Mindset of being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
At my Malibu Beach House Music Success Retreat I’ll personally train you how to do this. By the way tickets go on sale this Tuesday, April 14, 2015.
The Importance of Having The Music Success Mindset
When asked during an interview with Billboard Magazine what my predominant mindset was when I first moved to LA for music I said, “I didn’t come out here to not make it.”
I reminded myself of this every time I felt uncomfortable, lazy, overwhelmed, tired, burnt, or scared.
And I encourage you to do so as well. Eventually, you’ll realize that with each new uncomfortable phase, you’ll be learning how to win at the music biz game.
So make sure to put your time, energy, and money into the things that you truly need to be doing so you get to enjoy the success in music you so richly deserve.
Pillar #2: Your MUSIC – Songwriting, Production, & Artistry
The depth of your success will be determined directly by the number of hearts you touch with your music.
So it’s important that your material have what I call Universal Appeal. Which is to say that you construct your song in such a way that it is effortless for many, many people to relate to it. To be moved by it.
To feel it!
The Joe Solo Definition of a Good Song
A good song expresses what people don’t know how to say.
That’s from the book I’m writing, so don’t even think about stealing it ;). And it’s one of the most important things we’ll dive into at my upcoming Music Success Retreat in May, 2015.
Multi-Dimensional Dynamic Juxtaposition
Another highly valuable creative technique I detail at the Workshop is what I call Multi-Dimensional Dynamic Juxtaposition.
“Huh?? What the heck is that?” you ask?
MDDJ is a method of blending opposites resulting in your productions grabbing the listener by the ears from the first moment your songs start, and maintaining peak interest right up until the very last note – as though your music yanked the listeners out of their consciousness, had its way with them, and then released them back to reality once it’s finished with them.
One must maintain the full attention of your listeners if you’re to have a meaningful career in music.
And MDDJ is THE key to producing hits. Once you know it you’ll never think of your music the same way again. A few other thoughts on your artistry to keep in mind:
The Song is King
Production is VERY important, but it can’t save a bad song. In fact, a great production of a bad song is really just a bigger, clearer, larger-than-life sounding piece of crap.
It’s everywhere – just look around you.
Observe other people’s interactions, emotions, problems, and victories – there’s a song in there.
Pay attention to the things you ruminate over – there’s a song in there, too.
Put a new twist on a classic, easily relatable theme (like love at first sight.)
Read books, watch movies, and walk in the characters’ shoes. There are several songs just waiting for you to discover them.
Inspiration is everywhere you turn – you just gotta proactively look for it.
One of my biggest inspirations? YOU.
Pillar #3: Supercharged Marketing For Your Music
There are many ways to market your act. Let’s talk about a system that informs them of what you’re doing, and significantly more important, engages them.
The Value Of Building Your Email List
Your email list is one of the most important fan base building tools you will ever have. Much better than Facebook and Twitter, because email feels much more personal to the recipient.
Because they can engage with you one-on-one. And you with them.
Receiving emails from an act a person truly loves feels like an honor to them. It draws them in and makes them a part of your success.
You can promote your music, inform them about shows, involve them in your music career, get their feedback, and anything else you wish to do – keeping in touch like you would with a friend.
Everytime I speak, I pass the sign-up clipboard.
Every time you gig, you should pass the clipboard. Every time.
Get them while the energy of the moment is at its peak!
And have someone be your clipboard guy/gal – I’ve discovered there’s something about having a person pass your sign up sheet on an orange clipboard around that invites people to respond positively – they become very enthusiastic about signing up.
Leaving the sign-up sheet on a table and referring to it during your show is tantamount to not even having a list. Few people will leave their comfortable viewing spot to sign up. Other people who mean to sign up often get distracted and forget. The trick is to make it as fun and convenient as possible for your fans to get onboard.
I know from past experience this stuff works. Following these processes resulted in selling out my Seattle weekend workshop AND both Los Angeles workshops. I plan on doing it again and again.
Incidentally, at my upcoming Malibu Beach House Music Success Retreat I’ll give you full details on how one musician leveraged his email list of die-hard fans to make a profit of $135,000 in less than 3 days’ time – all without being signed to a major label or publisher. You’ll learn a lot of other music marketing techniques there as well.
And best of all, engaging with your fans is unfathomably rewarding. It’s very satisfying getting compliments on your music, praise for how you’ve positively affected people’s lives, and sharing the adventure that is….the music business.
Pillar #4: Talking The Talk
Last summer, I was hired to listen to the “final” mixes of an artist’s record and tell him what possible improvements I could suggest.
He explained that music was his life, and that this collection of songs was the culmination of 3 years of an emotional, passionate, musical journey – he nurtured, cared for . . he loved… his “babies” with all his heart.
I took a listen. His songwriting talent was undeniable. Each tune a highly written gem. The recordings of the songs were well executed, too. He had hired a seasoned producer, took ample time to experiment with different colors and arrangements and tweek them until they were just right. Each and every vocal was perfectly in tune and dripping with vibe. To top it off he spared no expense in hiring a top mastering engineer.
I asked him what he intended to do with his record and he said he’d probably mail it to record labels and wait for them to send him deals memos.
“What?!?!?!?” my brain said to myself.
I asked him if he knew that major labels don’t accept unsolicited material.
“Didn’t know that.”
I asked, “Do you know the basic tenets of music publishing?”
I explained to him it’s where songwriters make the majority of their income.
I asked, “If somehow you’re able to generate label interest, who will negotiate the deal for you?”
“I’ll do it myself.”
“Have you thought about getting your music placed in TV, movies, video games, and commercials?”
“Is that even worth doing?”
At this point I couldn’t take it anymore. How could someone with so much talent be so ignorant of the business side of music?
I asked him if he thought about learning, at a very minimum, the basics of how the business side of music works. (Publishing, records deals, license deals, manager agreements, and copyrights, to name a few.)
His response: “I just want to make the music. I don’t want to hassle with all that other stuff. It’ll all take care of itself.”
While listening to his music, I was pondering ways in which I can do business with this guy – pitch his songs for films and TV, shop him for a record contract and a publishing deal. Maybe even connect him a top manager. He seemed to have it all. Great songs, unique voice, an interesting look, and superb recordings.
But upon finding out how little he knew . . and cared to know….about the business, I quickly realized I didn’t want anything to do with him professionally. And pros in the biz would respond the same way. More on this in a minute – read on . . .
I passionately recommended that he seriously consider getting educated on the basics of the biz. But it fell on deaf ears. It was as though laziness, fear of the unknown, or perhaps some ego (“All they have to do is hear my music and it’ll be a piece of cake from there.”) were winning over him considering the perspective of a guy who’s been in the trenches for 24 years. Go figure.
For example, if he knew that by copyrighting his music prior to someone possibly infringing (stealing) it, he would be entitled, by law, to up to $150,000 per infringement and reimbursement of all attorney’s fees. (And having this legal leverage would set the stage for attracting a top music litigation attorney to take his case – typically resulting in a quick, lucrative settlement instead of a risky, drawn-out trial.)
Results of Ignorance
Seven months later, I got a call from a well-established music supervisor whom I hadn’t talked to in quite some time. We were catching up, and he mentioned to me that this same artist’s music had caught his ear. He, too, was blown away by the music, but ended up walking away from the deal he offered the artist:
… Because the artist didn’t know what is typical on film placement deals and wasted valuable time making unrealistic demands.
… Because the Music Supervisor was nervous that the artist would make him look bad to the movie producers and directors with whom he has spent years cultivating trusted relationships.
… Because time is precious, and he didn’t have the time to teach the artist about the business.
… Because there are many other artists with quality material to choose from who already know how the business of music works.
It gets worse:
There are roughly 30 music supervisors in Hollywood who control 90% of the music that gets placed in major films and TV shows. They know each other very well – and they all talk. Word in this business travels very fast.
And the artist hasn’t been able to penetrate the industry since then.
The artist refused to learn to speak the language of the music business, and paid for it with his dream.
You could learn the fundamentals of the music business on your own by Googling the terms mentioned above. Or try to pick up information from your more experienced music friends.
Pillar #5: Networking – This Is Important
First, I want be to crystal clear – networking is vital to music success. You can have the greatest music in the world and if nobody knows about it, you’re not going to get very far.
The Major Players
These are the 19 major roles in the music industry including: Label executives, publishers, A&R people, managers, music supervisors, publicists, songwriters, producers, singers, session musicians, bands, and music attorneys.
One needs to fully understand the functions of the various roles within the music industry. Even more valuable, learning the variety of motivations and how they apply to these various players, along with the “language” to communicate with each of them effectively empowers one to properly network with them.
Use The Right Bait To Suit The Fish
I like filet mignon. To me, it’s very delicious. However, fish like to eat worms. So when I go fishing, do I put filet mignon on the hook or do I put worms on the hook? Worms, of course! You’ve got to use the right bait to catch the fish you want. And in the music industry, the right bait means knowing what attracts and motivates the various players within the industry – and it’s different for each of the aforementioned roles.
People in the music industry want to work with people with whom they have a trusted relationship – people they know – and people who speak the language of the music business (See Pillar #4 on the side bar.) This way you are viewed by the industry as a respected, familiar peer, rather than an unknown, uneducated outsider.
Rejection – Self Rejection
Be on the lookout for any self-imposed limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from networking well. (See Pillar #1 on the sidebar about the importance of your mentality for more on this.) One such common belief is that industry executives are on a “pedestal” above you.
These people need you as much as you need them. Read that again please. Did you do as I suggested? Read it once more, build it in until you know it. You are vital to the industry. . . Know It!
Confidence is key – – Because music careers are can often be made within the first few seconds of meeting an industry gate-keeper. So approach them knowing that you are at the same level. And if you think you aren’t, just think about this: Without artists, songwriters, and musicians, music executives would have nothing to do. If you still feel “below their pedestal” – and remember – you are the one who put them up on it in the first place – then fake it until ya make it. In other words – practice.
You Are Vital
Last October, I had just finished one of my live workshops a few weeks earlier, when I received a thank you card from a songwriter attendee. Prior to the workshop, she wrote, she always started feeling inferior around anyone in the music business who was in a position to advance her career. She thanked me for both boosting her self-esteem in the music industry environment, and making her realize she already was an integral part of the industry. (New songs and new artists are the life-blood of the biz).
She went on to tell me how several of the insights she picked up from both me and her fellow workshop attendees gave her a new outlook how her music is important and vital. Now, she said, she is finally able to walk into a room of industry executives with confidence.
So know this: You are vital to the music world.
Where To Network
Attending a multitude of music industry conventions, expos, meet-ups, club dates, concerts and other music community events will expand your ability to connect with industry movers and shakers. By attending these events, you will get hands on experience in how to network, whom to network with, and will simultaneously initiate the beginnings of building your own collection of music career boosting relationships.
By the way, one such event where you can meet industry insiders is our upcoming Malibu Beach House Music Success Retreat. I’m in contact right now lining up 7 of the industry’s top music supervisors, publishers, and label executives to be available to you as both guest panelist and for a music executive dinner where you can meet and talk with them one-on-one for the evening.
Rick Barker, the manager who broke Taylor Swift, is already confirmed. I’ll be announcing more music execs this week.
I’m in your corner,