Saturday, August 19, 2006

Are You Ready to Get A Record Deal?

Getting a Record Deal can be a real challenge but it's not impossible . If you really want a Record Deal you must be able to answer these questions first.

Are You Talented?

You don't need any talent to get a Record Deal, but not having talent will guarantee that you won't sell many records. Talent comes in many forms and you don't need to be able to sing, rap, or play an instrument like a virtuoso, but you do need some form of talent.

Talent Defined (Key Term):

We define talent as "the ability to get people to pay you for what you do". Many people are critical of popular artists like Brittney Spears, Madonna and a lot of today’s rapper's. Some wonder how these so called talent-less individuals ever received a record deal. One thing all artists with record deals have is talent. The artists who have record deals have some form of talent. You must be talented to get a record deal.

Can You Entertain?

In today's music biz, the ability to entertain beats the ability to sing. If you want a record deal you have to be good at entertaining. Record Companies are looking for people who can compel fans to buy the artists music, attend shows, and conduct compelling interviews in the media.

Definition of Entertainment:

We define entertainment as "the ability to provide value to those who pay attention to you". There are a many comedians who can't sing, but they fill venues that seat thousands of people because they can entertain. As an artist, if you can entertain you can get a record deal.
Value is anything that produces positive a result. What is your value? What positive results does your music or brand provide?

To get a record deal, you’ll need to have proven results. The days of record companies signing talent on the hunch of an A&R rep are over. Today, getting signed is about the value (in dollars) that your music brings to the record label.

Talent isn’t a value unless it produces a positive result. I’ve seen many people talk about having talent and I almost believe them – until I see or hear them perform. More importantly, talent isn’t talent unless someone will pay for it.

Can you make your fans feel your emotion? Do your fans get excited when you are around? Do your fans get turned on when they see a photo of you? Can you look good on T.V.? Can you relate to a specific market? Do your fans ‘bob’ their heads when they hear your music? Do your fans find your lyrics cleaver or inspirational? These are all values, because they present a positive result for your fans.

What is Your Fan Conversion Rate?

Do you have a huge fan base? How many of your fans have purchased your music?
In [music] business, numbers and ‘conversions’ (the amount of consumers that actually pay for your product) are the new name of the game. In the music business your fans are your potential consumers. You have to convert your fans into paying consumers. More importantly, you have to have proof of your fan to consumer conversions. Once you have a high fan conversion – or sales rate, you’ll in be ready to get a record deal.

Keep records off all of your sales to fans.

Keeping a record of your sales will help to keep your music business career honest. You may be able to inflate your sales numbers, but it can also ruin your credibility. Know how many people are listening to your music and then buying your music. For a record label the ability to ‘forecast’ how well your music or band will sell in the marketplace is based on prior results. Business always looks backward to plan the way forward. In the music business, your past success is a prediction of your future success. Assure the record labels that their investment in music or brand will be successful and you will get a record deal.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Nobody Said The Music Business Was Going To Be Easy

It truly is a jungle out there -filled with: snakes, rats, rabid carnivores, sharks…well, you get the picture. In the course of your musical journey, there will be confrontations, arguments, misunderstandings, and miscommunications. You’ll get jerked around, screwed over, ripped off and disrespected.

So, you want to be a rock star? Welcome to your nightmare.

But this is also a business of good people, who’ll give you opportunities and chances and help you out when you least expect it. That’s why it’s so important that you, as musicians and as a band, act professionally and respectfully regardless of the behavior of those you encounter. You don’t have to be a pushover and of course, you have a right to defend yourself against the questionable actions of others, but the music community can be a very small town and the behavior you exhibit will follow you throughout your musical career.

On the flipside of that, there are musicians out there who, either knowingly or unknowingly bring negativity on themselves through their own actions. Short temperedness, egocentricism, brazen entitlement, compulsive lying and just plain old psychotic behavior can brand your band as troublemakers and deprive you of important opportunities that you need to move forward in this business.

So, how can you make sure that you’re doing onto others as you wish they would do onto you? What can you, as musicians do, to eliminate aspects of your personality that may be causing bad blood between you and the people you run across on your way to superstardom?
The following are a few tips that may help you to make sure you’re exhibiting professional behavior at all times:

1.) Be Timely And Courteous
Whether you’re playing out live or emailing booking inquiries from home, there is never a substitute for courteously or timeliness. At gigs, show up when you’re supposed to, be friendly, treat others with respect, set up quickly, end your set on time, break down quickly, be mindful of other bands on stage, compliment those around you and don’t forget simple things like, “please” and “thank you.” When you leave a positive impression in people’s minds, you’ll be high on their list when it comes time to fill an open booking slot, recommend a band for a review, etc.

2.) Make Sure Your Actions Match Your Words
It’s such a simple thing but you’d be surprised how many musicians seem incapable to doing what they say they’re going to. If you book a gig, show up and play. If you say you’re going to bring twenty friends and fans to your gig, do it. If you reserve an ad in a local music magazine, pay for it. If you write a check, make sure that it doesn’t bounce. If you say you’re going to send out a press package or a CD, mail it. It is true that many people in the music business are distrustful of bands that they don’t know, and with good reason in many instances. Build your good reputation in the industry by proving that you will do what you’ve promised. Start small. Once you’ve gain people’s trust, you’ll see more and more doors opening up for your band.

3.) Take The High Road
It may be tough but there’s nothing to be gained from returning someone’s improper behavior with a heap-load of your own. That doesn’t mean that you need to let every industry slime-bag from New York to LA ride roughshod all over your music project but there are ways to deal with the negative behavior in this business without branding yourself with a label equally as negative. Sending firm yet professional letters, making intelligent and informed phone inquiries and, if need be, taking legal action against those who have acted inappropriately are ways to handle unpleasant situations without drawing negative attention to yourself. Public scenes, yelling and screaming, long-winded and ranting emails, threats and accusations and spiteful actions may make you feel vindicated but it may chase away the good people as well as the bad and that just sets your band back.

4.) You Can’t Undo What You’ve Already Done
It’s much harder to undo past bad behaviors, or reverse negative reputations than it is to foster positive ones. It’s best when starting out to avoid acting rash as a rule. If you have a band member that is incapable of keeping his or her cool, perhaps it’s time to rethink his or her place in your group. The entertainment industry has a long memory and a spiteful tongue. Make sure when people speak of you, they’re speaking well.

This may all seem like such common sense that it isn’t even worth mentioning but you’d be surprised how many shows, interviews, tours, and record deals have never materialized because of burned bridges.

You may have talent and great tunes, but if your attitude sucks you’ll get passed over time and again. No one wants to work with rage-aholics, egomaniacs or crazies. Don’t let anyone think that’s what your band is about. Sure it’s important to be creative geniuses but if no one likes you, you’ll be performing your masterpieces in the garage for grandma and her Pomeranian. Get smart and treat people right and you may find yourself rockin’ all the way to the bank.

Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 700 affiliates to more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more info:

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Jeronimo!!! Black

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Ugly Truth About Radio Airplay

This is a real post, from a real DJ. It was ripped from a popular radio insider website:

"Our PD has recently told us that we must only play songs in the mixes that are in the station's rotation. It seems that they are automatically assuming that if we are playing a song that is not in rotation then it must be payola.

I'm simply trying break new songs. I dj at several clubs and get mad response on several cuts that I'm not allowed to play in the radio mixes. I don't stray to far from the playlist, I might introduce one new song per 20min mix. What is wrong with that?

I know that payola exists. What has me puzzled is what or who determines the music rotation and why can't new songs be introduced by none other than the PD? especially when the PD is over 50yrs old and does not have a ear for this so called music that is out today.

Our station plays a lot of unheard of artists that do not have hits but yet when we try to introduce a hit during the mixshows we are not allowed. So, my question is, who is really getting paid for play? I realize the PD is the boss but I don't understand why the playlist is so tightly controlled, especially when we are in a market without competition. "

** Moral of the story** don't waste your time trying to get radio airplay. There are too many other outlets that you can use to expose your music and they don't require paying some 50 year old, out of touch PD (Program Director) who is only concerned with keeping his job.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

My Suggestions for Bio Writing

LOL...Ok, so, I'm clicking around the web checkin' for hot new artists and something that never fails to make me laugh are these bio's written in the third person. These insanely funny Bio's usually usually go something like this:

"Hailing from somewhere between sonic decadence and inspired writing is the artist known as Stupid Bio Writer . Stupid Bio Writer started his career in the back of the classroom with a pointed dunce cap on. As a little boy Stupid (as he would become known as) always knew that he would one day do something so important that he could afford to talk about himself in the third person. Because his music is mediocre, he feels a need to make himself seem bigger than his fans, who he provides no inspiration..." Bla Bla Bla

When I was Music Director, at numerous Radio Stations, I would always make fun of the idiots who wrote, or allowed, someone to write a Bio for them, that spoke in the third person for the artist.

Here's my suggestion, do not write your Artist Bio in the third person. Fans want to feel like they know something about you - not about your publicists writing ability. If you are an aritst, you must write your Bio, in a fashion, that allows those interested in you - to learn about you.

Try something like this: "I was born and raised in Detroit. My musical influences are wide, because I grew up listening to every kind of music from Classic Rock to Disco to Motown to early punk and new wave. As I grew up I fell in love with Hip-Hop and have been producing beats every since..."

The key with writing Bio's is, truth trumps creativity. Keep it real with your Bio's and your success at impressing people will greatly improve.

Jeronimo Black
PS. Check out this hot new artist:

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