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The Music Industry Tip Archive

Tips From Ric Poulin, Studio Owner, Renowned Producer & Vocal Coach
Tips From Bristol Staff
Tips From Music Industry Guru Bob Baker
Tips From Other Music Industry Professionals

Tips From Ric Poulin, Studio Owner, Renowned Producer & Vocal Coach

"For all vocalists- I'd like to clarify a medical condition which I see in 3 out of 10 singers called TMJ. TMJ, simply put, is an out of alignment jaw condition resulting in an inability to open wide or chewcomfortably. The ability to comfortably open wide is crucial to singing the Pop Method. Dentists and Oral Specialists have made this their area of expertise, however in all my years of training singers I haven't found one dentist who handled this condition satisfactorily. My advice to anyone with this condition is to see a chiropractor. These doctors have gotten great results for singers with this condition. So if you have any bit of this condition please see a chiropractor. We can recommend several if you need one. Wishing you success!"
Ric Poulin-Bristol Studios' owner and renowned vocal coach

Brought to you by Ric Poulin - Owner of Bristol Studios, experienced performer, producer and vocal coach.
"Here's a formula I use in successful songwriting:
1. Decide what subject you want to write about. Example: "Love", "Money", "Breakups", "Cars" etc.
2. Figure out what you want to communicate in one sentence. Example- the subject might be "Cars". The communication could be "I wanna' ride in a pink Cadillac".
3. Make a list of everything you would like to say about that subject. It could be one page or many. But write until you have said everything.
4. Get your material for verses and a chorus from this list and fit words and phrases into a format that works as a verse and chorus. Hope this helps!"

Focus on ability:
"Ability is everything. Looks, hair, clothing, style all help but are no substitute for ability. Whether you sing, play an instrument or manage artists the key to success is ability. Whatever you do, be professional in your approach and become the very best at it. Incredible ABILITY is what will make you stand out from the crowd in the music industry. Therefore find out everything you need to know from professionals who can help you. Sure, you can eventually discover things for yourself but your road to discovery will be a lot longer than if you seek out the people who already know and get them to show you."
-Ric Poulin-experienced producer, vocal coach and owner of Bristol Studios

When your in the midst of getting signed, an entertainment lawyer can really lift the fog, and empower you with concrete decision making plans. Here are some hints on how to find a lawyer who can truly be yours. First of all, you need someone who knows what their doing, someone with a big knowledge for the music business, someone who knows what is going on, in your genre of music, and can put that knowledge to use for you. Now, if you are calling and calling one particular lawyer, and he is not getting back to you, you should probably seek your fortune elsewhere. If they don't have the time, in the beginning, they probably won't put the hours in that you need to get your deal. Along the same lines, once you get through, they should sound excited to work with you. If you have to force your lawyer to take you on, he probably won't be very enthusiastic in his representation of you, which will affect how you come across to the record label. It's also helpfull to find someone who is honest, who can tell you whether or not the deal is one that will work for you. At the same time, you need to be able to take the truth, so do your part, and be open and understanding. Lastly, find a hard worker, someone who is willing to climb the highest mountain for you. If you believe in yourself, and your lawyer believes in you, something is sure to come your way. After all, that's what they're there for, to make sure that things run their course, and you get the deal that suits you best. Ask around town and get references from people who have had good experiences with a particular lawyer. So go out there and work it!

This week's tip is in answer to a question that was asked of us. Music Industry veteran and Bristol Studios' Owner Ric Poulin answers:
Question: Would flyering be an effective promotional tool in terms of getting people to come to my band's gigs?
Answer: Why yes it would be an effective promotional tool, but you have to realize that flyering is a numbers game. For every 100 flyers you pass out, you're likely to get 2 responses. So the more you flyer constitutes the more people responding and actually going to your gigs. The great thing about flyering is that it makes your band/stage name very visible and it's one of the most economical means of promotion.

"PERFORM!! By performing you gain experience in front of crowds and learn to deal with pressure. It provides market testing for the songs that you write. Performing also helps build your fan base. Actual performing experience is invaluable. You are actually confronting any and all concerns and fears you have connected to the idea of performing each and every time you step up to a stage. And by confronting it and doing it, the battle is at least half won! By deciding to perform and doing it, despite any considerations or barriers, whether self imposed or real, enables you in a big way and brings you that much closer to your goals to become a great performer. Each performance give you a chance to iron out your skills, to decide what works and what doesn't and simply gives you a chance to drill in front of a live audience. Of course, a lot of drilling should go on BEFORE you hit the stage, but the performance aspect cannot really be drilled fully without an audience. So, bite the bullet, take a deep breath and get out there. Find every oppurtunity you can to perform and do it regularly so you don't get rusty. Survey your listeners afterwards and find out what they liked best and even what they didn't like so you can ensure that the effect you are trying to create as a performer is really getting across. Of course, take critisism lightly and never let it introvert you or stop you on your path. Every true professional in any field has spent hours and hours drilling and practicing to reach the point of excellence they've attained, so attack performing with the same enthusiasm, discipline and standard and you'll win the game!"
-Ric Poulin-Owner of Bristol Studios, Experienced Recording Arist and Performer.

Tips From Bristol Staff members
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"If you are at the stage as a performer where you find you need to start promoting yourself, good photographs are key. Don't cheap out on this step. Although it's not necessary to spend major dollars, it is necessary to get good quality photos that truly flatter and capture you and the image you are trying to project. Too often we see photos here at the studio which are actually actor's head shots. A head shot is a straight ahead head & shoulders photo of the person against a simple white background and is devoid of much style. A head shot is not what industry pro's are looking for in a new musical artist and say nothing about you as a personality. You want a photo that says something about you. A head shot deliberately says nothing about the subject, mainly because actors want to present a blank slate so they can be considered for many roles and not be pigeon- holed into one look only. It simply captures the person as a blank slate. An
artist shot should say LOTS about you, using lighting, pose, attitude & emotion, make up, hairstyle, wardrobe, backdrop, environment in addition to various technical effects created by the photographer in development. We have used the same Boston photographer for years for most of the photography needed by our clients here at the studio. Michael is incredibly creative and really has a knack for capturing the individual qualities of the person in front of him and his photos say "Performer!!". (He's also reasonably prices, especially considering the quality of his work.) Find other photographs that you like and determine what you like about them and take them to the shot with you so you accurately convey to the photographer what you are looking for. "A picture speaks a thousand words" applies here.
Another suggestion is to survey your trusted friends and family when the proofs come back to get feedback from others. Often I see artists choose unflattering photos as their favorites and I often have to persuade them towards the more flattering shots. Also survey people in the music industry to get side checked and use your own judgment as well. Relying on friends and family fully is sometimes NOT successful because they are not considering the industry viewpoint you are supplying the photo to. Industry veterans are more likely to steer you towards the best pic. The photographer usually has valid suggestions as well, so don't forget to get his input."
Laura Poulin, co-owner, Bristol Recording and Voice Studios

Music Promotion can be a very easy game to play. The rules are basic. Make who you are and what you do known to anyone and everyone and make sure that it all looks as professional and worth while as possible. Here's a list of everything that you need to maximize your chances of having major success in the music industry:
1) A show! The performance circuit is the staging ground for the rest of your career. Put a slick show together that communicates to the audience. Perform for your friends and family at first if you don't get booked in the FleetCenter right away. You don't need pyrotechnics and dancing girls. Just make sure you can present your music in a way that'll make people want more of it. Eventually try to get paid for playing.
2) An e-mail list. Every time you perform get as many if not all the e-mail addresses of the audience. Each time you have a show or an event, e-mail your list the dates and details. Ask them to bring a friend!! Make that 2 friends!!! If you have number 1 above and it's pro, you'll watch your following grow.
3) A demo. If you're performing, eventually you'll want something the audience can take away from the show so they can share it with other people, which will attract others to your next gig, so they can see how good you are with their own eyes. The first demo you have doesn't have to look amazing or sound like you spent $30,000 in the studio. It just has to be a good representation of how good you are. You'll also generate cash to finance future demo recordings. As tempting as this may be, don't give the demo away! Ask friends, family & fans to help support your music career. They are always happy to!
4) A website. It doesn't have to be Flash fancy but it should include: decent photos, a bio, song snippets, news, gigs announcements and a way for people to sign up for email mailings. Their are plenty of tips on the web about how to make your site more visible to web searchers. The site will act as your home base for people to find out what you're doing and when they can see you. They can also ask for CDs if you choose to sell over the net. Website promotioin is cheap and gets news across quickly and is incredibly effective.
Craig Burger-Bristol Recording Studios Sales Manager and experienced perfromer

Website promotion
A website is a very effective promotional tool. Using one to promote yourself or your band or your business is a excellent and inexpensive method of promotion. But a key thing about websites is: how do you get people to visit your website once it is up and running? Search engines are one of the keys to promoting your website. Most search engines work through using "metatags" which involve keywords stored in the code of your webpages. When someone enters something into the search engine to search for, the search engine checks these keywords, and if your keywords match what is entered by the person searching then your page will come up in the results. So, when choosing keywords, do make sure that you use everything that someone might possibly type in when searching for your webpage. Other search engines have websites register with them and when someone uses that search engine it only searches through the websites that have been registered with it. So when promoting your website on the internet you need to do some research on each of the search engines you want to find your website on and then find out how you can be "found" by their engine. There are other effective methods to promote your website including sending out emails inviting people to come visit it, exchanging links with other websites that are related to your site, advertising on the web through various companies, and even putting up flyers. Everyone trying to promote needs a web presence in today's technology minded society, and with internet promotion the quantity of visitors is the most important aspect.
-Jason Blaske, Webmaster, Bristol Recording and Voice Studios

"If you're anything like me, your music collection began before the digital revolution, and is preserved on pre digital media (vinyl records, audio cassettes, etc.). Fortunately, there's no need to worry. The technological advances made in the last decade offer us the ability to transfer these sentimental recordings into the digital realm. Your digital tracks can then be burned to compact disc, or even converted to MP3, with song, album and artist information included in the files themselves. Upgrading your old recordings to digital is a great way to preserve your collection while being able to enjoy the benefits of new music technology."
- Matt Sims, Duplication Manager and engineer, Bristol Recording Studios

"To get the best performance on your recordings, the performer must be in a comfortable environment. Recording sessions with unprepared or nervous musicians result in unsatisfactory takes because the performer was not at ease in a studio environment. When you are planning a recording session, you must understand that performing in a studio and performing live are totally different things. Take as much time as you need to become comfortable in the studio, bring items that make you feel at ease (comfortable shoes and clothing, a favorite CD, a friend or relative that will help you perform at your best.) And most important of all is to make sure to warm up your voice (or instrument) before you get into the recording process. Warming up while you are recording will only result in tracks that are below par and you will take more time trying to get the perfect recording. Take time before your session to practice your songs, make sure that you know the piece by heart and that everyone involved has practiced their part. Once you're ready to record, try to personalize the space you will be recording in, turn the lights down if it makes you more comfortable, some people prefer to record in the dark. The bottom line is the more comfortable you are the better your recording will be. And turn your cell phone off, I mean really!"
Roger Sherman - Recording artist and engineer, Bristol Recording Studios

" It's time to get electronic in your promotion via the internet. This message might seem a bit old, as of course we all know and use the internet. However, I have found that the average user and professional musician and industry person does not know how to fully utilize the web for promotion. One very effective way is by use of email presskits. We have been using these to get presskits and info immediately into the hands of agents and industry professionals for artists that we are handling. This has been extremely successful. In addition to MP3 attachments you can link up videos to the email page directly so that the person on the other end of the email gets instant visuals on you as an artist. Check out an email presskit for JADA here so that you can get an idea of how this works. If you would like help in puttng an email presskit together for yourself call Craig at: 617-247-8689 or email him. Good luck!"
-Ric Poulin, Bristol Recording & Voice Studios

"Putting embellishments into a song is like adding ornaments to a bare Christmas tree. You just NEED to have them."
-Beth Furlic, former Bristol Voice Studios vocal coach

"It is important to always use energy when you sing. In singing, energy translates into moving breath. If someone says, "Your not singing with enough energy", they are actually telling you that you aren't moving enough breath under your voice."
- Brent Barlow, Bristol Studios Senior Voice Coach

"If it takes a village to raise a child then it must take an army to produce an album. When you are involved in songwriting, recording, and mixing of a project it is not uncommon for the artist to have opinions about how things should go. That's fine but don't forget that the people you've hired are a source of valuable experience and knowledge. Aside from that experience they can offer a different and more objective view than the artist themselves sometimes. Don't reject an idea because it didn't originate with you. Collaboration is the key to success."
Chris Billias-Bristol Studios' Senior Producer

15% of all CD sales are impulse buys, and this is directly related to the CD's graphics. Making a CD package visually appealing will increase sales. This is important to remember when sending demo CDs to labels. Including vivid artwork along with all of the pertinent information ( contact info etc. ) will certainly increase one's chances of getting a response.
-Merlyn Caswell-Mackey, Graphic Designer, Bristol Recording Studios

"In order to become a better performer, go out and watch others perform. Study the stars in your particular genre of interest and absorb all you can from their performance and stage presence. By watching others, you will begin to see areas that you can improve upon and tactics and musical elements implemented by other performers that could be adapted to improve your own performance."
-Jacyn Tremblay, experienced performer and member of Jada.

Tips From Music Industry Guru Bob Baker
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This is the response of Norah jones' manager, Steve Macklam to concerns that Norah Jones' success was due to a label "creating" her as an artist.
"I suppose the reason Norah's success has raised a few eyebrows on both sides of the indie vs. corporate fence is that it confounds analysis in its simplicity. From time to time an artist just strikes a chord with the public and the whole project takes on a life of its own. No doubt, there are A&R guys out there right now trying to build the next Norah Jones. But this kind of music and this particular kind of success doesn't work that way."
"Support for the record began from the ground up, largely through word of mouth. Long before the record was released there was a quiet buzz on the street that something real was happening. At the time, it seemed like every label in New York was trolling for the next Diana Krall. What they got was something completely different. Fortunately, Norah's early demo's ended up on the desk of someone as cool and savvy as Bruce Lundvall at Bluenote Records."
Macklam explained that PR efforts started on the East Coast and spread from there. "There was no massive marketing campaign, no brilliant back room strategies, no radio- friendly remix, just the usual pre-release mailout to the usual suspects. And if anyone thinks that mailouts from a jazz label like Bluenote are met with excitement and anticipation, then you haven't been reading your SoundScans very carefully."
"But here's what really matters," he continued. "When people began to hear the music, they just plain loved it. Major press was on it in a heartbeat. Press you would die for, pay anything for, if you could. As it turns out, Bluenote never had to. There were so many requests to speak with Norah that by the time the CD was released she was already starting to burn out and complain about being over exposed."
"There was a story in the press about Norah going to the label when she heard that the record had just sold over a million copies and asking them to please stop selling records. It's a true story, and it speaks volumes for Norah as a person and as an artist."
"Since then the record has gone on to sell more copies than Norah or any of those of us working with her ever imagined. It's got us all shaking our heads trying to figure out how to take credit for something that just seems to have happened on its own. I'm sure there will eventually be all kinds of theories about how or why this record succeeded as much as it has. For myself, it's enough to know that every once in a while making a great record is all it really takes."
For more detailed background info on how Jones' popularity spread, despite her reluctance to embrace it, check out this article which appeared in the 'Dallas Observer' in September 2002: http://www.norahjones.com/press/dallasobserver091902.htm

Reprinted from Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor, featuring free marketing and self-promotion ideas for songwriters, musicians and
bands on a budget. Visit www.TheBuzzFactor.com for details.

Suppose you walked into your local record store and one of the employees (a complete stranger to you) came up and handed you a box filled with CDs and said, "Here, these are extra promo copies. You can have any CD you want out of the box."
Now let's pretend that you were not familiar with any of these artists. As you picked up each CD to consider whether or not you wanted it, what would be the first question to pop into your head? In other words, what basic question would you need to answer first before you could make an intelligent (and quick) decision on which one you'd take?
Would it be "Who produced this CD?"
Would it be "What record label put this out?"
How about "What are the names of the musicians and what instruments do they play?"
Would it be "I wonder how great these folks think their own music is?"
Hopefully, you've come to the same conclusion that I have. The first question that anyone asks when encountering new music is: "What kind of music is this?"
I've used this box of free CDs example to make a point: This is exactly the same position that music editors, radio program directors, A&R people and music publishers are in when they receive your unsolicited recordings along with dozens of others. Even though it's great to think that everyone already knows who you are and what you do, the sad truth is that most of your contacts will be clueless. That's why giving them the first (and most important) clue up front is essential.
Human beings need some way to process information and file it away in the proper place in their heads before proceeding to any follow-up questions, such as "Where is this band from?" or "What unique spin do they put on this genre?" Without creating a mental category or comparison to something fans are already familiar with, it's nearly impossible to get to these important follow-up questions. And if you can't move this sorting-out process along in a swift manner, your music marketing efforts end up dead in the water.
Why, then, do so many people who promote music either ignore answering this fundamental question -- "What kind of music is this?" -- or bury the answer so deep in their press materials that the reader gives up out of frustration before ever uncovering it? Unless you are (or are working with) a well-known artist, the people receiving your promo kits will be in the dark as to who you are and what you play. Your job, therefore, is to answer that first all-important question right off the bat: "What kind of music is this?" It should be one of the first things people see when viewing your press package.
Here's an example I randomly pulled out of the overflowing box of review CDs in my office not long ago when I was a music editor. When opening the package, the first thing I see is a cover letter. Here's how it reads (I've changed the name of the person, label and band to protect the misguided):
"My name is John Jones, vice-president of Widget Records, here in New York. I'm writing to announce that one of our bands, the Losers, will be playing in St. Louis on July 24."
It's important to Jones that he announces who he is and what he does right off the bat. I'm sure this makes him feel good about himself. But how does this introduction move him closer to his goal of getting media coverage for the poor Losers? At least I know about the St. Louis date, something that should matter to me. But since I don't know what kind of music this is, I'm not impressed. On to the next paragraph.
"The Losers' music is already on national college and commercial radio."
Excellent. His mother must be very proud of him. But is this jazz radio? Alternative radio? Polka radio? Ten stations? Eight hundred stations? Huh? I'm still being kept in the dark.
"The Losers are a new band founded in 1994 in New York City. These shows are part of the year-long tour to promote their debut album."
More senseless background details before I even know what kind of music this band plays. But one thing I do know is that Jones sure likes talking about his band and its accomplishments. Now I'm starting to doze off from reading this.
"The Losers' music combines Celtic violin with punk-influenced distorted guitars and melodic rock vocals ...
What? A description of the music? Say it isn't so! And I only had to wait till the fourth paragraph to get it. And it ends up being a pretty cool description: Celtic violin with punk guitars. Now that's different. That's something I'd like to pop in the CD player and check out. What a great media hook for the band.
Unfortunately, the label's vice-president has done the group a disservice by burying this vital piece of information in a dreary cover letter. Most media people would have given up on it long before they got to the intriguing description. But this never occurred to Jones. It was much more important for him to pound his chest and proclaim his name, title, city and the fact that his as-yet-undefined band was getting radio airplay. What a missed opportunity! Don't make this same error.

How much better it would have been if his letter went something like this:
"Dear Bob, When we first told people we had signed a band that combined Celtic violins with distorted punk guitars and melodic rock vocals, they told us we were crazy. But we proved them all wrong with the Losers, a band that is now on a major roll. Last month alone, over 325 college stations around the country were playing cuts off the band's new self-titled CD. And now you can experience the Losers for yourself when they come to St. Louis on July 24. I think your readers would get a kick out of hearing about this unusual Celtic/violin/ punk/melodic mixture ..."
This version (though it could probably be reshaped and made even stronger) pulls you in and lets you know what you're dealing with quickly and interestingly -- as opposed to Jones's dry resume listings.
Now take a look at some of the promotional tools you're using right now. What's the first thing you see? Your address? The band members' names? The record label name? Some vague reference to how impressive your music is without a specific definition of it? Stop beating around the bush and start getting to the heart of the matter. Media and industry people are partly overworked and partly lazy. Don't shroud your message in mystery, hoping it will tease people and make them read further. Remember this important rule: No one will ever be as interested in reading your press materials as you will. So give them what they need up front, fast and simple.
And answer the most important question first: "What kind of music is this?"

Reprinted from Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor, featuring free marketing and self-promotion ideas for songwriters, musicians and
bands on a budget. Visit www.TheBuzzFactor.com for details.

Here's a cool marketing idea from Corey Palmer of the band Monday Conspiracy. Like most club-playing musicians, his band gets booked at venues that stamp the hand of every patron who enters. Most bands don't give this common ritual a second thought. But not Monday Conspiracy. "We had a stamp made that spells out our web site address, www.mondayconspiracy.com," Corey says. "Before every show, we ask the manager if he or she would mind using our stamp at the door. Most managers say yes, which results in the entire crowd being temporarily branded with our web address." And the results? "We've seen our web traffic jump quite a bit since we started doing this. People are less likely to forget our address with it stamped on their hands."

Reprinted from Bob Baker's The Buzz Factor, featuring free marketing and self-promotion ideas for songwriters, musicians and
bands on a budget. Visit www.TheBuzzFactor.com for details.

Six Steps to Creating Powerful Music Ads
It's sad to say, but most music marketers approach advertising in a shoot-from-the-hip, spontaneous manner. That quality is great for jamming, but it does little to make the best use of your ad dollars. Whether you're designing an ad for a print magazine or web site, here are six principles you should use to generate real results from your advertising efforts.

1) Have an objective or purpose for your ad
If you're running an ad just because everyone else is, or because you have a new release coming out and it's the thing to do... slow down. Beyond that, what's your real objective for advertising? Is it to get people to go to stores and buy your new CD, add people to your mailing, solicit mail order sales of your recordings, promote a live show? Don't expect an ad to work miracles and accomplish multiple objectives. Pick one purpose for any ad, then make sure the design of it works toward that end.

2) Remain consistent with your theme and design
Choose a look and attitude that will stay the same for weeks, months, maybe even years to come. Having a consistent design and feel to your ads burns an impression of your music into the minds of consumers. And that's exactly what you want to do!

3) Start small
Don't think your ad has to be bigger than the other guy's (or gal's). A lot of marketers let their egos steer their ad decisions, not rational thought. A series of small ads run regularly over time will have 10 times the impact of one or two full-blown, full-page ads that people never see again.

4) Make the offer prominent
After you decide on the marketing objective for your ad, create a corresponding offer that will inspire readers to take action. Examples: a free catalog, a $3 discount, free CDs for the first 50 people, etc. Then make sure that offer is prominent in your ad. Don't bury it like some of the ads mentioned above.

5) Stick with a budget
Figure out how much per month or per quarter you can budget for advertising and then stick to your plan. There are two reasons:
     1.) So you don't go nuts and blow your whole bank roll on advertising, and ...
     2) So you don't get side-tracked and skip advertising when you need to be.
As you may know, I don't think you always have to be running display ads. But during those months when it's in your best interest, make sure there's a system in place so you don't miss publication deadlines and lose out on the exposure.

6) Always include complete contact info
There's no excuse for leaving out your address, phone, fax, e-mail and web site info. If you have them, list them!

Before you rush to slap together another ad, look over these music advertising tips. You'll be glad you did.

Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds since 1995. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

The One-Dollar Music Marketing Tool
by Bob Baker
Traditionally they come in yellow. But these days you can find them in orange, green, pink, blue and all the other colors of the rainbow. In school you probably used highlighters to flag important passages in textbooks. Or maybe you use them now to note meaningful paragraphs in your favorite how-to titles. I'm talking about highlighters. And in case you didn't know it already, you can also put this inexpensive writing instrument to good use in marketing your music.

Here are three creative ways to do just that:
1) Highlight important facts on the outside of your mailing package I once received a press kit on the band Earth Crisis, which was playing an upcoming date in my hometown. On the outside of the mailing envelope, the publicist had handwritten the band's name, the venue name and date of performance in dark ink. Then she highlighted these notes in bright green. The editors and reviewers who receive packages like this know in an instant what they're about and why they are timely. Especially with regard to media people who already knew of the band, this simple technique helped the group avoid the slush pile.

2) Highlight pertinent dates on your tour schedule If your band is on tour and promoting a string of dates along the way, you definitely want to notify the media in each city where the group performs. Some publicists craft a separate press release for each city, which if fine. But other bands take a more economical approach: They list every city, venue and date on one sheet, which is inserted into every press kit. The one-sheet system is fine and dandy, but editors still have to scan over the document in search of the relevance to their specific city. And quite often, these packages are sent to music media in cities not even on the tour schedule - which wastes editors' time searching for a concert date that's not even there. Which brings us back to a music marketing rule I've hammered home many times in the past: Make it easy for media people to give you free exposure. The harder you make them work, the less recognition you'll get. The easy solution: Highlight the date and venue that's pertinent to that city. That way, the line will stand out in the overall listing of tour dates. This will take a few more minutes to coordinate when putting together your press kit mailings. But the payoff could be substantial.

3) Highlight standout quotes within your press clippings Hawaii's Crash the Luau Records recently sent a promo package for the band Tone Deaf Teens. Five of the act's most favorable reviews and write-ups were interestingly arranged on one appealing page. In addition to that, the most positive and descriptive sentences within each review were highlighted in yellow. It allowed someone reading about the band for the first time to get a quick grasp of what this group was about. You didn't have to wade through multiple paragraphs and exposition that didn't matter. The highlighted sections forced you to go right to the heart of what Tone Deaf Teens is all about. Using a colored highlighter to draw attention to the important points you want to get across to the media is a simple but powerful way to stand out. Why not go out right now and invest a buck or two in your music marketing campaign?

Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds since 1995. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

Laziness and Greed: How to Make the Most of Them in the Music Biz
by Bob Baker
I recently read an online posting in which someone was venting about the apparent apathy of indie music people. He wrote
"People tend to be lazy and greedy -- a sour combination. Many people aren't aware of these traits in themselves."
Here are some thoughts on this topic:
I totally agree with that statement. People naturally do take the easy road and think primarily of themselves. That not only includes indie musicians and small label people, it also includes music industry big shots and media people of all kinds. We can bitch about the sorry state of human beings or we can learn to work with it. How?

By doing these two things:
1) Make it easy for people to help you. I used to be a magazine editor/publisher. Like many indie media people, I was overworked and underpaid. Far too many bands sent out sloppy packages without focus and then expected me to do all the work to give them exposure. The bands who gave me what I needed, came up with interesting story angles and made it easy to cover them usually got press (as long as they had a story worth telling). It's no different with your fans and people in other areas of the music biz. Make it simple and easy for people to get on your band wagon, order from you, etc... and make them look good in the process. Which leads to...

2) Let people know up front what's in it for them. If all you're doing is asking for handouts and taking, it's no wonder you're coming up short. Use other people's self-interest to your advantage and let them know what you can do for them. Most bands who try to book gigs talk about how great their music is and how many CDs they've sold. Does that matter to the agent or club owner? Hopefully it does, but usually all he/she cares about is the cash register ring at the end of the night.
I once booked several solo shows by sending out a simple post card with a large headline that read: "I want to help you sell more beer!" Many of the bar and cafe owners who received it were impressed that an artist actually kept their needs in mind. It hit their self-interest square on the head ... and profited as a result.
The bottom line is: Accept the fact that people are human and use their tendencies of laziness and greed to your advantage. Take control of the circumstances, don't be controlled by them.

Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds since 1995. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

How to Beat the Major Labels at Their Own Game
by Bob Baker
In an issue of the trade magazine Billboard, columnist Chris Moore once expressed his bewilderment over the avalanche of new releases from independent labels during the months of October, November and December. Obviously, these record companies want to take advantage of the holiday buying frenzy. The only problem, argued Moore, is that the major labels choose these same months to release most of their heavy-hitting new albums.
And who do you think is going to get most of the attention at retail stores and on the radio during the fourth quarter every year? You can bet it won't be the indie labels.
Moore's suggestion: Independent labels should save their biggest moves for times when the majors are putting forth their smallest efforts. He cited January, a month when major labels are catching their breath after the big holiday push, as being the perfect month for smaller companies to act.
And he added this gem: "In guerrilla warfare, the insurgents always stand the best chance of making a successful strike when the other side is asleep."
I knew right away that I had read these sentiments expressed before. So I picked up my copy of Marketing Warfare (McGraw-Hill), one of many fine books by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
Within its pages I found more ammunition for this viewpoint: "Launch your attack on as narrow a front as possible," the authors write. "This is an area where marketing people have a lot to learn from the military. Where superiority is not attainable, you must produce a relative one at a decisive point by making skillful use of what you have. The marketing army that tries to gain as much territory as fast as possible by attacking all at once with a broad line of products will surely lose in the long run."
The philosophy here is simple: When you are not the leader in your field, you can't possibly win by playing on the same turf and using the same tactics as the leader. Instead, you use the leader's strength to your advantage by focusing your efforts on areas too insignificant for them to bother with.
Plus, you won't succeed by trying to be all things to all people. That broad-appeal, shotgun approach doesn't work for indie ands and labels 99 percent of the time. Your music won't connect with any one group of consumers strongly enough to matter. That's why pinpointing areas where the big players are weak is the best strategy.
Now that you're beginning to absorb this their-weakness-is-your-strength attitude, I encourage you to start coming up with ways you can use your small size to your advantage.
Where else could you be playing live? Through what alternate routes might you get media exposure? What types of new retail outlets could you approach to sell your CDs? How might you package your next release to make it different? Stop complaining about your lack of resources, and start reframing your current situation into a position of strength!

Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds since 1995. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

CD Sales Success Stories
by Bob Baker
There are nearly as many ways for musicians to sell self released CDs as there are CDs. The following stories show how two artists colored outside the lines.
Taking Your Music to the People
Tony, an acoustic folk singer/guitarist in New Zealand, says one method he uses to drum up sales is dueling appearances at record stores. "The best deal I got was through a local retail chain that liked the sound of what I was doing and allowed me to promote through their store on three different occasions," Tony says. "I spent all day in the store, played my CD through a stereo system, handed out leaflets, gave a special discount, talked to people, signed CDs -- all in all, I sold about 60 copies -- and these to people who normally wouldn't have glanced twice at the album cover anywhere else."
Tony also does a lot of busking (playing live for tips in randomly chosen locations) at country fairs.
"I always have a table beside me with CDs," he explains. "The trick here is that I busk acoustically, but take regular breaks during which I play the CD through a Peavey Solo amp and a Sony Discman, both running on rechargeable batteries. I'll sell a dozen albums this way, plus earn busking money and make contact with people who want to hire me or my band. "As an independent, you've got to do it all yourself -- and there's absolutely no substitute for personal appearances and live performances," Tony adds. "It's all geared to self-promotion, and it just snowballs. If you sit at home like other really good (much better than me) musicians and say, 'You can't make a living from your music in New Zealand,' then it's true, you won't. However, playing music is my full-time job now."
Using Your Unique Qualities to Your Advantage
Josh of Josh Max's Outfit says his band has sold more than 550 copies of its "Make It Snappy" CD. Not impressed? You may be when you find out how.
Josh explains: "We sold 150 to fans at our shows so far, but the way we moved 400 CDs was to hook up with a fashion magazine for plus-size women and promote our singer, Julie James, who is plus-sized and an amazing, sweet yet powerful singer. Julie has loads of personality -- and the media love juicy people like her.
"The magazine bought 400 copies of our CD," Josh continues, "and distributed them in goodie bags at trade shows around the Northeast. It's a great deal because it's free publicity and the bulk sale made us back a lot of the money we laid out for the disc."
It's also a good example of a band taking what some in the business would perceive as a weakness and exploiting it to the band's advantage. Therein lies the lesson: Any characteristic of your band can be repositioned to be perceived in a fresh light.

Bob Baker publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds since 1995. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

Four Ways to Attract More Music Fans Faster
by Bob Baker
Here are four steps to take to reach new fans:
1. Define Your Distinct Musical Identity
You must have a firm grasp on what your music is about. And you must be able to define it clearly and quickly. What are your strongest musical traits? What sets you apart from other acts? What attitude or social statement do you make? Being a generic rock, pop or hip-hop act won't cut it. Dig deeper and discover your unique identity. When you do finally reach some of those rare potential fans, don't lose them by not being clear about who you are.
2. Describe Your Ideal Fan
Once you have a handle on who you are musically, it's time to paint a clear picture of your ideal fan. Can you articulate how your fans dress, where they work, what TV shows they watch, what they do for fun and who their favorite cultural heroes are? Observe the types of people who come to see you perform and note what they have in common? Knowing precisely who your fans are will dictate what avenues you use to reach them and how you communicate your message once you do reach them.
3. List Ways of Getting Access to Your Fans
Once you know exactly what type of music fan you're going after, start making a list of the various resources these specific people are attracted to. What magazines and newspapers do they read? Where do they hang out? What radio stations do they listen to? What retail outlets do they frequent? What web sites do they surf to? What e-mail newsletters do they subscribe to? For example, if your fans are mostly Harley riders, go to a search engine like google and start entering keywords related to motorcycles. Evaluate the search results and compile a list of the many good sources you uncover.
4. Network and Promote Your Music
Armed with this targeted list of contacts, get busy! Send e-mail press releases to niche media outlets. Contact the webmasters and editors of appropriate publications. Post messages in specialized forums. Visit and interact via the web sites of similar-sounding bands. Contact organizations and charities related to your musical niche. In short, go to where your ideal fans are. And market yourself through these outlets relentlessly. Why waste time and money trying to promote to everyone... when you can save money and be far more effective by going directly to those valuable one-in-a-thousand fans?

Bob Baker publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds since 1995. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.

A Series on How to Make Money in the Music Industry by Bob Baker
Why is it that some people in the music business make tens of thousands of dollars a year, while others wallow in poverty most of their lives? Is it because the rich ones are just plain lucky? Or because they were born into a musical family with clout? While these easy-road explanations might be true for a few people, most of the real music business success stories involve everyday people who discovered what it takes to make money and get ahead by doing something they love.
Musical Wealth Rule #1: You Are What You Think.
How many times have you heard the phrase "starving musician"? Or how often have you heard friends say, "I'm never going to make any money with music. Why bother?" It should be no surprise that the people who say (and therefore think) these things the most are among the poorest individuals you know. Remember, if you tell yourself something often enough, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The key, then, is to program yourself for success. Stop thinking and uttering thoughts of limitation and deficiency. Star getting your mind attuned to thoughts of boundless possibilities and abundance and watch what sort of rewards come your way!
Many of us are so used to thinking in these negative terms, it's difficult to shift into positive gear and stay there. A great mental technique to reprogram your thoughts is the use of daily affirmations, which remind you of your goals and keep you focused on achieving them. Affirmations are basically specific statements that spell out what you want to obtain and when you want to obtain it. They should also be read aloud every day and worded in the present tense. Therefore, "I will be a successful music publicity specialist someday" is not an effective affirmation. It's too bland and vague. On the other hand, "I make $25,000 a year by December of this year doing music publicity for touring bands and independent record labels" is a much more solid, results-oriented affirmation.

A Series on How to Make Money in the Music Industry by Bob Baker
"Musical Wealth Rule #2: You Get What You Want When You Help Other People Get What They Want.
(This phrase also makes a great affirmation, just replace the You's with I's and you're set.)
I truly believe that a lot of people don't become successful or make much money because they consider themselves to be in the taking business. Their only concern is what they have to do to take someone's money away from them. The thing that drives these poor creatures is the prospect of jumping on what's going to make the fastest buck, regardless of what it is. But I pity them, and so should you, because they'll never know the joys of being in the full-time giving business.
Being a success in the field of musical giving means that the product or service you specialize in adds real value to the lives of the people who become your customers. Of course, the thing that makes you happiest is being directly involved in an area of the music business for which you have a burning desire and passion. But the aspect that will make you rich (and even happier) is making sure your customers feel that what they get from you is worth more than the money they have to give up.
For instance, a successful club band gives its fans a good time and the bar owner a packed house. A photographer gives his client a hot, new image. A music teacher gives her students the ability to make music and impress friends. Are you getting the picture? In other words, make sure you have a firm grasp on what it is that the people who pay you get out of dealing with you. Once you know what that is, you'll know how to promote your special area of the music business and how to make sure your customers keep coming back for more--while referring you to others.
The bottom line is this: Concentrate on what you're giving to the people who send money your way. If you continue to give what they want and need, you won't have to worry about taking anyone's money. It will take care of itself."

A Series on How to Make Money in the Music Industry by Bob Baker
Musical Wealth Rule #3: Develop an Attitude That Allows You to Make Money and Have Fun While Doing It.
It's an outlook on life that's always worked for me. Can it work for you, too? What would happen if your goal was to make money and have fun while doing it? Wouldn't that put the whole subject of money in a more positive light? Of course. The problem is that many of us are so used to dealing with money in stressful situations. The rent is due, it's time for the equipment payment, how are you ever going to scrape together the cash to get the van fixed?! For many of us, making money is associated more with scrambling under painful circumstances--not fun! No wonder people become so cynical about it. I can hear you now: "What are you talking about, Baker? Making money isn't supposed to be fun, it's something you do because you have to!"
Well, I say that's nonsense! Making money should be fun, creating music should be fun, just as life itself should be fun. And don't let anyone--including yourself--tell you different.
Right now is the best time to get started on your money-making career in music! Keep your mind open and your aim high. There's no reason why you can't turn that million dollar musical idea into reality... starting today!

"What's Wrong with American Idol?"
Four Music Business Experts Say the Popular Talent Show Is Misleading Tens of Thousands of Aspiring Musicians ... and the Public at Large. by Bob Baker - The Buzz Factor, Posted March 2004 (www.musicbizacademy.com/articles/bb_americanidol.htm)
"American Idol" is no doubt one of the most popular TV shows of recent years, drawing millions of viewers every week. But, according to four music business experts, the program is doing a disservice to aspiring musicians and distorting perceptions of how the music industry really works. "The show may be fun to watch, but it's the last place I'd recommend anyone go to learn how to succeed with a music career," says Bob Baker, author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook" and "Unleash the Artist Within." Baker compared notes with three other music business pros: Derek Sivers, Peter Spellman and Danica Mathes. All four agreed the show has created widespread misconceptions about what it takes to succeed as a musical artist in the modern world. They have identified five myths perpetuated by American Idol and are on a mission to set the record straight.
Myth #1
Industry talent scouts actively look for singers and musicians to develop.
"Shows like 'American Idol' lead viewers to believe that there are hundreds of people like Simon, Paula and Randy out there searching for talent they can mold into the next big pop star. That's an Old World view that simply doesn't reflect reality these days," Baker says. Danica Mathes, a St. Louis, MO-based entertainment attorney, who has worked with artists such as Nelly and Anthony Cosmo (of the band Boston), admits that record companies employ A&R people whose job it is to sign and nurture new artists. "But as major labels consolidate, cut staffs and get nervous about the bottom line, they no longer have the time or money to develop new acts," she says. "Instead, they look for artists who are already developing themselves, attracting fans and selling CDs on their own. "It's easy to forget that in the music business, like any other business, a record company's investment and risk on a newly signed act can mean the end of several careers -- not just the artist's -- if it doesn't work. So a label is much more likely to invest in someone who has a proven track record."
Myth #2
Most aspiring musicians lack talent and are delusional, struggling and starving.
The "American Idol" auditions, in particular, create this illusion. "That's a huge misconception," says Derek Sivers, founder and president of Portland, OR-based CD Baby, a web site that in 2003 sold $4.6 million worth of CDs (more than 400,000 units) by unsigned acts. "I'm blown away by the tremendous amount of quality music being produced outside the mainstream," he says. "Many amazing musicians have decided they're happier selling 10,000 CDs on their own and making a hundred thousand dollars, than selling a million CDs and being broke on a major label. That's the reality of today's music business."
Myth #3
You need the approval of industry insiders to make it in music.
Another misguided notion is that getting an industry big shot's approval will make or break your career. "Sorry, you don't need Simon's or anyone else's permission to be worthy of a career in music," Baker says. "If you wait for someone to give you the green light to create and perform music, you may wait a long time. Artists should use their inner conviction and the response they get from fans to fuel their progress." "Every major label in the U.K. passed on both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in their day," says Peter Spellman, Director of Career Development at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and author of "Indie Power" and "The Self-Promoting Musician." "That gives you a sense of what label gatekeepers know about an artist's potential. Who knows what talent they're passing on today?"
Myth #4
Landing a major recording contract is the ultimate sign of success.
"While major label deals have a purpose in the industry for some musicians, I definitely preach the independent gospel," Mathes says. "I've heard countless stories of bands that got signed and never went anywhere, or bands that had record deals and ended up falling far short of their expectations. Unfortunately, Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard are the exceptions, not the rule" According to Mathes, only about one in 30 signed acts reach significant enough sales levels to warrant a second CD release, which means nearly 97% of artists with recording contracts fail. "Getting signed often means the kiss of death," she says. "Yet, I talk to aspiring artists every day who still believe they need a major label deal. The smartest musicians understand that there are other options that give them much more control over their careers, and they aren't afraid to put their all into making it happen. Artists who realize success does not happen when you get signed to a major label are the ones who will make it in this industry."
Myth #5
Without widespread nationwide exposure, you're doomed to failure.
Most musicians would love to get the high-impact TV exposure that "American Idol" finalists receive. But nationwide media coverage is not a requirement for ultimate success in music. "When most people think of successful artists, they mainly think of who they've heard on the radio or seen on MTV," Baker explains. "However, there are thousands of lesser-known artists who actively write, record and perform great music under the radar. And, contrary to popular belief, many of them make decent money, have large armies of devoted fans and are quietly, but steadily, building careers."
Baker adds, "It's misguided for artists to think they need the massive exposure and approval of music industry honchos a la 'American Idol' in order to succeed. The musicians with the best odds of success take their careers into their own hands, promote themselves relentlessly and create their own lucky breaks."

Tips From Other Music Industry Professionals
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"Many college music industry programs require or strongly recommend that the student serve an internship as part of the degree requirements. Internships can provide valuable practical example of concepts learned in school. They can also help in two other very important ways:
1. They can give you actual experience in the industry. This experience can look very good on your resume. But more importantly, a good hands-on internship will give you the competence, well honed skills and professional standard needed to get hired in the industry. This is invaluable.
2. They can help you build your network of contacts. If you do good work during your internship, the professionals with whom you have worked are more likely to offer you a job or help you find employment after you've graduated. They may also give you permission to use their names as references. A successful intern understands that the internship can act as an audition for a job and will show up early for work and stay late, looking for ways to be useful and things to learn."
-David Baskerville, Ph.D. Author of Music Handbook & Career Guide.

"Welcome to the Biz" By Carla Lynne Hall of VIBE Magazine www.vibe.com
You want fame? Got a demo you think could blow up? Well here's how to do it.
STAND OUT. A&R people are looking for the next hot thing, not copycats. "Have a concept for your music," says Damon Eden, management and publishing coordinator for Bad Boy Entertainment. "It's better to go in as a polished artist than to be molded by someone else. If you're not coming with something new, then what's the point?"
PACKAGE IT. Your demo should be professional. In other words, tapes recorded in your shower won't cut it. "A CD is the most convenient format," says Eden. "Not DATs, and not cassetts."
MAKE IT HOT. Send hits or forget about it. "A demo should posses creativity," says singer/songwriter/producer Chico DeBarge. "What works is depth, but with some commercial appeal. However, just because music is original doesn't mean it's good."
HIT 'EM HARD. Your first track should be your best. "It should be a hot single, not an album cut," says Eden. "We often end up scrapping the demo songs and cutting new songs anyway. You just need to prove that you can make hits."
MAKE IT SHARP. Don't half step on recording quality. "It takes money to make money," says Eden. "Get the best you can afford, and make sure we can hear what you're saying over the beats."
KEEP IT SHORT. "If an A&R doesn't get it in three or four songs, he won't," Eden says. "If they want to hear more, they'll ask."
GET CONNECTED. That's right, it is who you know. "If an A&R person doesn't have a reason to put your CD in a player, they won't," says Eden. "This business is built on relationships. We listen to demos sent by managers, lawyers, and friends."
GET A MEETING. "When an A&R person can feel your vibe, it's 10 times better," says Damien "Deo" Blyden, A&R for Motown. "And when you meet, be humble but confident. Be able to take constructive criticism."
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Know where you're sending your demo and to whom. If you're an R&B singer, don't send your demo to a rock label. Many don't even accept unsolicited demos and will return your package unopened.
FORGET THE DEMO. A lucky few can do this. "I never had a demo," says rapper AZ. "My first demo was a cut on Nas's album that had every label going crazy." If you can build a buzz this way, you're golden. But in the meantime, get thee to a studio.

Looks really do count!
In order to get radio airplay, you definitely need a good sounding product that is engineered to the highest quality, but you also need a great cover. You need a stand-out cover on your CD to get the station personnel to open it. That is the major hurtle at radio. The truth is that music directors and disc jockeys are just as human as everyone else. Aside from the generally understood technical requirements by both competent engineers, producers, and radio personnel, station crews also like music that looks good. Many artists spend a bunch of money on production, even to the point of over-producing, yet their ‘visual’ package is sadly lacking and usually sacrificed to the point of being generic in appearance. You need a great cover that will be an ‘eye catcher’ and make your CD cover stand out from all the tons of recordings that are received at radio.
- K. Love

Tour Distribution Using Radio
A lot of folks immediately want to try to get their product into stores using standard distribution. If you are a label, however, and the project you are marketing is not a priority (maybe you are just testing it), or if you are an artist funding things yourself, then you might just consider foregoing standard distribution altogether in favor of tour distribution using radio.
Tour distribution is when you rely solely on your gigs to move your product (i.e., your product is only for sale at live gigs,) and you do not bother trying to get retail placement at all. Since you are saving the time and money of trying to get distr., you put your energies towards increasing your radio, which will drive more people to the gigs so you can sell more product. Basically, you are just tightening a loose circle. The traditional forms of distr. (from the top down) are major, indie, self, and consignment. They all require the permission or partnership of others in order to get your product onto retail shelves. Getting these approvals is very difficult for a new label, and major and indie deals are basically impossible for solo artists. Even self-distro and consignment deals require tons of time and energy and money to set up for the few copies that they move... and certainly with no guarantee of profit.
However, by purposely deciding to avoid that circle entirely, and putting your focus on radio instead, you can do quite well just selling your product at your gigs (and you'll get full sale price too), since for new indie labels this is where most product is sold anyway. The only exception to this might be hip hop, where distr. does well even if gigs are few.
Yes, it's true that by not even trying to get into stores, you'll be catching flack from a lot of people. But invariably, these people tend to be folks who have never gotten any type of distr. at all for themselves. Either they are major label people who get all their company's stuff into stores easily (not their personal stuff, of course), or someone at a music magazine/paper... which you are not focusing on since you are concerned about radio, or friends/family who just want to brag by telling people that your CD is in stores.
That leaves clubs and venues. The booking people at these places might also want to give you reasons why you need to be in-stores, until they learn of your radio. Since clubs try very hard to get on radio themselves (most just can't afford it), they really value an act that is already getting exposure.
The exposure can of course be spins, but it might also be morning show gibberish, ads, or even community event announcements. So not only are you going to have more people at your gigs, you'll be booking larger clubs where the booker normally would not take your call. An act that normally sells two to ten CDs and a couple of shirts will now be able to move 20 to 50 CDs and ten shirts. And this is in just one night, and is of course in addition to what the club might be paying you (outside of Los Angeles, of course). And don't forget to use the sales tactic of having someone walk through the crowd and ask every single person if they'd like to buy; don't just put your stuff on a table.
One last area which sort of crosses the boundary of gig-only sales would be in-store performances. When you are able to perform in a retail music store, many times the store will stock (sometimes even pay for) your product for several weeks after you leave. But you still have to physically go and play at their stores in the first place, so it still requires touring, and thus still makes my point.

Bryan Farrish is an independent radio airplay promoter. He can be reached at 818-905-8038 or www.radio-media.com

'T h e m e d' Musical W e b S i t e s
By Kenny Love
(For Selling More Products & Services)
The Internet is now in full bloom, commercially and non-commercially. Which makes it all the more puzzling why more musical web site owners, artists, or labels haven't developed their musical web sites into more "thematic" sites. By "thematic," I am speaking of giving your product a unique visual identity. While it is true that the Internet is primarily about the dissemination of information, it is still in the best interest of a site, no matter what its product, in order to initially attract customers and potential buyers, to maximize its all-around potential, and to be as eye-catching and visually- appealing as possible, without sacrificing load time. And, after all, in the music industry, since the introduction of video, we ARE in a visually arresting industry as well, aren't we?
This will place your business yet another step above your competition. Ultimately, it is the edge that serves to enhance sales...which is, after all, the bottom line. Your online/visual presentation can spell the difference in a trickling number of sales and a worldwide blow-out. Perhaps, one of the reasons that many indie artists or labels shy away from focusing on themes or graphics, aside from their recording's cover art, is their fear of slow-loading pages. While once a warranted concern, today there is graphic compression software to eliminate this concern without sacrificing visual quality.
Another reason may be the amount of time that is also required to locate the proper or desired FREE archives of graphics or icons on the Internet in order to produce the proper theme. While it is true that you can spend a great deal of time searching for "the right stuff" to get just the right 'look', ultimately, it is worth it.

A New Paradigm for CDs - A Music and Advertising Delivery Platform
By Mark Warlick (open post) Jan 26
The music industry is clearly in a state of transition. Some would say crisis. Over the last three years, CD sales have decreased a total of 15%, according to some reports. Many industry insiders believe that the decrease in sales is due to downloading. There has also been a significant amount of industry consolidation with companies of all sizes closing and merging. Clearly, the available technology has surpassed the business model that the industry is based upon. Therefore, the industry is challenged to revamp and evolve its model midstream. A new idea is needed. It is said that the Chinese symbol for "crisis" is "opportunity."
The race is on for the new idea that will be successful. The fundamental change that I propose is to transform the CD into an advertising platform in addition to a music delivery platform. No need to get technologically cute, just use what is available. The approach is similar to what music retail outlets have done. Music retailers sell wall space, windows, display area space, end-caps in order to increase the revenue streams. Anything that draws attention to the CD by the retailer, is up for sale to the record company or distributor.
CDs can be used in a similar manner. Consider utilizing the packaging and label artwork to deliver advertising messages. The message can be as simple as a website address and logo to a concise call to action. Clearly, this opens up a new revenue stream for the artist and the label. It creates the possibility to generate revenue while the project is being developed, thereby, reducing the label risk of the project. There are several benefits to this new paradigm. For the sponsor/advertiser, if gives them a new platform to be associated with particular artists and genres. Because of the product lifetime of the music packaging, the advertiser will make hundreds (even thousands) of impressions on the same individual over years, possibly decades. There is also the likelihood that the advertiser/sponsor will get impressions while the CD is in the bins at the retailer. Finally and most importantly, it is possible to target a specific demographic using music. Urban hip-hop listeners are quite different from Pop-Rock or Contemporary Jazz listeners for example.
There are benefits to the artists as well. Artists can utilize their management team to obtain advertisers/sponsors for the project. This can be true for the both independent and the signed artist. Clearly, this opens another revenue stream for the artists, and could reduce the amount that must be recouped. The artist also has more leverage with a label if there are sponsors in place before a project is initiated. Additionally, by creating a relationship with the sponsor/advertiser while the project is being completed, the artist can easily write songs that could be used in the advertiser's TV and radio spots, thereby giving the artist more spins and recognition with the public. The end result will be more CD sales when songs are used for radio and TV.
There are also benefits to the record company. As with the others, it is also a new revenue stream. It can reduce the up front costs in developing a project, thereby reducing the risk. The record company can sell advertising space based on the number of units shipped or "in perpetuity."
Additionally, the record company can also sell advertising space for "catalog" CDs. Clearly, this approach gives record companies the ability to create relationships with any consumer company in existence.
Finally, the benefit for consumers is that this approach could stabilize or reduce the cost of CDs from their current rates. Because special offers could become available, consumers would benefit from the synergy of music with other products and services. Admittedly, this is an unusual idea and an unusual approach to delivering an idea. However, what is important is to find ways to create an economically healthy environment for creative expression.

Visit Music Business Solutions online at www.mbsolutions.com
If your company is too new, too risky and unproven, or too offbeat to qualify for traditional bank financing and attract venture capitalists, you may want to look for an "angel". An angel is a private investor, often a successful entrepreneur, who invests in small businesses close to home for a variety of economic and personal reasons.
Usually, angels are friends, relatives, or colleagues. Successful entrepreneurs, especially retired ones, are especially likely to become angels. Although the figures vary widely, angels are believed to provide billions of dollars in capital to entrepreneurs every year. Based on demographics,
studies characterize angels as follows:
They are wealthy
They are usually self-made as opposed to being rich through inheritance
They are usually in their sixties; almost never below forty
They prefer to invest in companies they are familiar with.
They usually seek out small and growing companies in their own industry.
How do you find an angel for your business?
Here are some tips:
1. THE FIRST PLACE TO LOOK FOR IS AMONG YOUR BUSINESS ASSOCIATES. You have a greater chance of securing financing from people who know you. Then ask your business associates to ask their acquaintances. However, the farther the relationship and the lesser the prospective angel knows you, the lesser the chances of securing the investment unless they have a unique understanding of your product.
2. NETWORK, NETWORK AND NETWORK. Join a professional organization or trade group for your industry. Begin attending meetings on a regular basis. This is the best way to get acquainted with successful business owners in your field or related fields.
3. STAY LOCAL. You don't need to go beyond your geographic area to find investors willing to take their chances with your venture. Be sure to join and participate in your local Chamber of Commerce.
4. DISCREETLY INQUIRE about people who appear to be the most successful members of your industry. Pitch the idea to your lawyer or accountant - they may be interested or know someone who could be interested. They may have clients who frequently invest in a new and growing business.
5. RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET. Some sites provide listings of angel investors per geographical location, while others provide focused advice on getting investors for your small business. Check out the following sites:
i.Finance Directory of Angel Investors: http://www.vfinance.com
ii.International Angel Investors: http://angelinvestors.infopoint.com
iii.Venture Vortex: http://www.venturevortex.com
iv.Zelnick Media: http://www.zelnickmedia.com
v.Music Business Angels: http://www.musicbusinessangels.com (UK)
However, the rule is always to raise money at the right time. Convincing angels (or anyone else) to part with their cash to support your venture takes a lot of time and hard work. Be sure to dedicate enough time and budget in your search for financing.
Once you find a prospect, send a letter requesting a short meeting to discuss the proposal. A more effective approach is to be personally introduced to the angel investor by a common friend. People are more inclined to be receptive to offers from other people if the request comes from people whom they trust.
In the event that the prospective angel shows interest in your business idea, make sure that you have prepared a well-researched detailed business plan.
Your plan should emphasize why you need additional financing and exactly what you plan to do with the money. Write an executive summary for the plan that spells out in one page why someone should invest money in your business. Explain too, how you can repay the money and when. Better yet, have presentation materials ready based on your business plan in order to have a more effective discussion with your prospective investor. You want to appear relaxed, confident and as knowledgeable as possible. If the investor is interested, bring in your lawyer and accountant to the negotiations.
Informal investors usually invest from $10,000 to $100,000 in each venture. While angels may be able to invest considerable money in your venture without requiring the kind of documentation that other investors do, be sure to put your arrangement in writing to reduce any misunderstandings.
Angels may prefer to make straight loans at rates comparable to banks or slightly higher rate. They generally expect to lend their money from three to seven years, with some requiring guaranteed exit provisions such as a mandatory buy-out. Others may want to be repaid in stock if your company eventually goes public.
Be sure to tailor the financial arrangements to fit your angel's needs. Angels can also provide you, not just with money, but guidance, advice and a mentor relationship. Also called "advisory investors," they are generally not interested in controlling the business, but may require you to meet certain business goals or follow certain business practices. If possible, encourage your angel to become a member of your advisory board (more on this in chapter 8, "Pulling Together Your Team").
Many angels like to keep a close eye on their money; plus, they can offer you invaluable advice. If your angel is well connected in the local business community, he or she may help you find additional investors, introduce you to a banker or an attorney, or bring in new customers. An angel may also help you gain membership in a club or professional society that will benefit your business.
Remember that every relationship is different. The key to success is doing everything you can to increase your angel's comfort level so the person's investment and relationship with you and your business will be longstanding and profitable.

Editorial: On Building your Ultimate Team
By Steven Zuckerman
On Sunday I had the pleasure of consulting with a choreographer who attended GEMS in New York who wanted some career advice. While I wanted to spend most of the day relaxing and unwinding and preparing for the next show, I felt the need to take the lunch meeting, with the realization that not only was I helping someone—but I too just might learn something from the meeting.
A performing artist recently asked me "How do I get to the next level?" to which I responded, "What level are you currently at and who is on your team?" While the artist had no real significant players on their team, what they had was incredible determination and a willingness to listen to the words of experience. They were stuck at a certain level, wanting to advance to the next level—but not sure how to get there. This is what we shared over lunch.
The GEMS Model worked for us, it could work for you.
I made a decision a few years ago to create a synergistic business model where everyone involved would benefit. The show attendees would get something out of the experience, the sponsors would benefit from the show, the exhibitors would secure new sales leads for their businesses, and we would give more to the audience than the audience would give to us. It not only worked, but enabled us to thrive in a business where many of our competitors were closing their doors. But why did it work? And how could this apply to the career of a performing artist, actor or business person? I looked at bees building a hive and then looked at my wristwatch and came to the conclusion that the power of synchronicity was of essential value to the success of any project. Were all the promotional partners on the same page? If not, there could be problems. If they were, we could all advance and go forward. Does the artist have the proper management team? Is the manager interested only in their commission—or does the manager sincerely care for the well-being of their client? Does the manager look at their client as a number—or their best friend? Does the agent care about the effect? The after effect after the audition or appointment or booking—or are they just looking for their piece of the pie?
Accepting the Artist as an Individual
I recall having drinks with Ozzy Osbourne one afternoon after he had recorded the live album which would be titled "Speak of the Devil." While he was quite intoxicated at only 11 a.m., he told me that his biggest frustration was that so many people questioned who he was and what he was doing. "Listen, Steve," he said straight and to the point— "I am only me, Johnny Osbourne, Ozzy Osbourne. And people all day long question what I am doing, why I am doing it and who I am... and what they're not understanding is that I am being me—Johnny Osbourne, Ozzy Osbourne, and I’m only being me... something that needs not to be questioned, but instead, accepted." With this in mind, does the manager, agent and/or team accept the artist for who they are? Does the producer empower the artist to be the very best they can be? Or does the producer tell the artist who they should be?
Understanding the Identity of the Individual
My fathers’ friend manages an actor named Jack Nicholson. They were friends in the military together, and when Jack went to his managers office the day after winning his first Academy Award—the manager thought Jack was going to move on a bigger management firm. Instead, Jack renewed his bond and contract for life as his manager was the one person who truly believed in him. Alice Cooper’s manager has no contract with Alice. And they've been together for over thirty years. "Trust is the most essential quality in a relationship," Alice once told me while staying at the Parker Meridian Hotel. "Without trust and faith, there is nothing." So, what? Other than fear and a lack of business knowledge—is holding most artists and talent back from achieving success? One of the significant problems facing most artists, actors and business people is a willingness to be something that others wish them to be instead of who they are as individuals. While we are all evolving spirits, it has always been my belief that we will need to have a full understanding of who we are as individuals—and our relationship to others. As we proceed in the direction of our dreams, let us look at our dreams and goals—and who really is supportive of dreams and goals, who brings out the very best in us as individuals. When we know who those people are, we can start to assemble our dream teams—and ask our teams to help us get what we want. One needs to know who they are, specifically what they want—and then ask those who sincerely care about their needs—not because they are expecting a percentage—but because they truly care about the artist as a human being.

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