When I moved to the Seattle area (before I started playing in bands) I remember walking past the Showbox Market for the first time. It was a rainy (go figure) Seattle day and I was with my family. We were new to the area and had never seen Seattle so we decided to make a day of it. On our way to…
Lately, I’ve been intrigued with the subject of time. It’s not very often that I consider time itself and the part it plays in the business of music, but when you really think about it, time is perhaps the single most important factor in the musical journey. Hard work is a given and talent is a necessity, but I feel like I’ve missed the mark by failing to realize the part that time plays in not only how we get to where we are going, but whether or not we ever reach our desired destination. Time isn’t one-dimensional, either, and when we recognize the facets of time, new worlds open to us.
Ten thousand hours. We’ve all heard the theory and I assume many of us have heard the song. Ten thousand hours is said to be how much time it takes to perfect a craft. Many have said, “Time is money”, but I remember a wise friend of my father once telling me, “Wrong…Time is your life”. Sacrificing large portions of your life is truly what it is going to take to survive and succeed in this dream of “making it” in the music biz. Seeing time as an investment of currency will quickly make you treat your time like a much more valuable commodity than most do. We only get to breathe once. We only get one shot. How often do we flippantly toss the loose change of our life into the garbage by not giving our all, not realizing how much those small moments add up to a great amount of our life? There’s a difference between investment and gambling, and gambling with your time is gambling with your gift. Don’t waste it.
One aspect of investment that the majority of people don’t take into account is the fact that not every investment pays out a positive return. Investment is a risk…granted, a calculated risk, but a risk nonetheless. Don’t believe me?..Look at the housing market. Bottom line: you can be as good as you want to be and talented as hell, but if society isn’t ready for you, you’re screwed. Timing can make or break you. We all know someone with unbelievable gifting. Some of us may know someone with amazing talent and a solid work ethic. A few lucky ones may know someone with talent, work ethic, AND a great product…but if the timing isn’t there, nothing is. Guitar rock isn’t in right now…get used to it. This industry operates in cycles, just like anything else. If you wanted to sell a typewriter to a teenager five years ago, you could have made it indestructible, beautiful, and marketed it with millions and would have gone broke. Make one today that can be plugged into an iPhone, and BOOM…every bearded hipster on the block wants one. Timing is EVERYTHING. Socioeconomic climate, political leanings, civil distress, etc all play a part, and if you sing the right song at the right time…….BAM….Allen Stone, Macklemore, Psy, etc…
The paradigm has shifted in our industry. No longer do you have to be 25, blonde, busty and beautiful to be successful. Oh, it’ll help, but you won’t last on it anymore. There are gonna be plenty of one-and-done artists to go around because certain songs and artists will rise due to the timing factor…but do you think you’ll ever see Psy again? Now, it’s all about longevity for long-term success. Think about it this way: Sooner or later, most every artist around you is going to quit. What if you just never quit writing, playing, recording, filming, and releasing good content, even if you’re not the biggest act on the block? If ten artists exist and nine of them hang it up, who’s the biggest act in town? THE ONE THAT LASTS. Be committed to the long road…the hard road…the path that sucks…the path that will teach you how to be tough, a good businessperson, frugal, patient, consistent, and passionate.
I see success in music as a countdown to an eclipse. The most beautiful part about these facets of time is they can be separated into different pieces, but the clock only counts down when all of the gears of the clock are fitting together. There are moments when time meets destiny, but the hands of time have to line up. When you stick with it, your taste improves, your flavor comes out, your investment into your gift grows, your catalogue of work increases, your name spreads, you outlast your peers, and all of a sudden, the world is ready for you and time stands still for just a moment…and if you’re ready, the time can be yours.
Invest wisely, perfect your craft, understand the times, never stop creating, be committed for the long haul, be ready.
When people hear the words, "personal brand", the general public envisions nice logos, fancy photo shoots, and great PR work in tandem with marketed products. I prefer the word, "reputation". It’s a far more accurate word, and it doesn’t let people without conviction get around the personal connotation.
Not all brands are good. Most brands and products are cheap and of poor quality and then unsurprisingly go away pretty quickly. People instinctively know a well-crafted and solid product that won’t fall apart on them…and humans are no different. We all have a personal brand. We all represent a product; we all sell one; we all are one. Every decision and every commitment you make are the testing grounds of your name and if you fail the test, no one will buy what you’re selling…and the word spreads…FAST.
I’ve said it before, but your big talk and strut are nothing but a commercial. You may sell to a few people from your advertisement, but in the end your product will stand alone, naked, and will be judged on its performance and durability. How does your reputation and work hold up when tested? Do you follow through, regardless of cost? Do you get back to people? Do you consider it “unacceptable” to drop the ball? DO YOU DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO? Is your word worth the breath it’s spoken with?
My favorite talkshow personality always says, "I’ve never seen someone who is a hard worker and is good at what they do out of work", and the statement rings true. If you put out quality content and a quality product consistently, you don’t need to sell to me. Your product will sell itself.
I want to work with quality people because they produce quality results. I know what I’ll be getting. I trust the brand name. I’m willing to pay top-dollar for something that will last and perform, and so are countless millions of other people.
You know these people that I’m talking about; whatever they touch is successful. They may take a big risk and crash occasionally, but they’ll be back because they’re winners, risk-takers, and craftsmen. The cream has always risen to the top and it always will. When I see these people at the bottom, I know I’ll see them at the top again because they have guts, skill, and the inability to quit, while refusing to compromise on their reputation. The vultures and crows of society will always mock and pick at them when they go through hard times, but they’ll be back.
When a guy like BJ Olin took a band to the top and got dropped, the crows started their mocking…but then a couple of years later, he hooked up with Allen Stone and made him an independent superstar, while the guys that dropped him slowed to a halt. The guy isn’t lucky. He’s great at what he does, and it shows. That’s his brand; his perfection of his craft is his business card. I don’t need him to tell me he’s good.
Cody Beebe & The Crooks just put on the most successful first-year music festival I’ve ever seen…smooth, organized…FLAWLESS. I’m not surprised at all. Those guys won’t touch something unless they know it will represent them well, and anything they do will be amazing, because that’s their brand and they won’t compromise on it.
At the end of the day you only have 2 things, your reputation and the relationships you have…screw up the first and you’ll lose both.
We all want investors. We all want someone to believe that whatever dream we have is worth pouring resource into. We reach higher and higher for those we perceive to be “the big connection” and often skip unknowingly over the greatest treasures that life can bring.
I just returned from a short trip to San Diego for a music and media conference as well as to support one of the acts that I manage at Setlist Music Solutions, and I have never been so overwhelmingly aware of the selfless support of friends in the pursuit of a dream.
You don’t really comprehend how many people it takes to help you along the way until you break down your accomplishments step-by-step, and then you suddenly realize that you aren’t as great as you think you are; your accomplishments aren’t just yours. Bear with me for a moment as I list a few before continuing:
Jules closed down his own business for 2 days and drove 12 hours in a packed car each way, hauling equipment, making contacts, managing, dancing hard, getting lit on fire, and fetching water for the band.
Joey flew down on his own dime and spent the weekend as a roadie carrying drums, getting friends to the shows, packing gear, bleeding and sweating along with the band…and then slept on the floor at the house he scored for the band to stay in, while giving up the beds and couch to the guys he slaved for.
Trish had 7 dudes she’d never met sleep in her house, watch her TV, use her bathroom and laundry, and eat her food…and then cleaned the place up when they were gone…and didn’t ask for anything in return. A true home away from home.
Monique and Heather flew down, brought friends to every show, packed in and out and sold merchandise…ON VACATION.
Chalese, Marcus, Chelsea, Marcus, Sherman, Ruben, Marco, and many more local friends spread the word, shared online events, and paid to come out to the shows to show their support.
Marjy stuck her neck out for us to even have a reason to take the trip.
Kathryn selflessly fought tooth-and-nail to make the trip a reality, and took huge risks for us while being amazingly patient…we owe the trip to her in many ways.
Steve made the trip worth taking. This guy made me believe that there are some people that haven’t been jaded by the industry, and that there are still some that believe in the process of the dream becoming reality. This guy not only booked my act, but he took the time to get to know us, showed us around town, connected our hands with the hands of those who could help us further down the road, paid us, followed through way beyond his promises, gave us insight, and treated us like we actually mattered. Then the guy let me sleep at his place on clean sheets, use his shower, play in his backyard waterslide while drinking his tequila, and then his lovely Chelsea cooked me breakfast while I watched football! YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!! Bands, you’d better contact this guy at 710 Beach Club in San Diego before this guy leaves…trust me.
I’ve heard that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts…and I get what’s being said…but without the seemingly insignificant little parts, the whole is never a reality. You need to value the people that support you…cherish them. Don’t forget to say a simple thank you. Don’t take them for granted. Lose your ego.
For those of you that support like this, please don’t stop. You may not think you’re doing much. You may not understand the role that you play. Most people like you don’t really consider what they are doing to be extraordinary, but to us dreamers, your support is the fuel to our fire, the lifeblood of our dream, and water to the seed of hope that we carry inside us. When we see your face in the crowd, we’re inspired. When we hear your encouraging words, we are given strength to push on against all odds. You are making our dreams a reality.
I recently had a friend put a project online for financing. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen him serve the dreams of others and selflessly give of his time and resource before finally asking for help with his own vision. There’s a reason Samuel's project was 90% funded in less than 24 hours…and although he's talented, it's not just because he's good at what he does. He gave.
Even though he’s already over his goal for funding, there are still 20 hours left on his funding deadline. I didn’t write this as a cheesy advertisement for a friend, but if you’d like to pitch in and be a part of a hard working supporter’s dream, the link is below.
I’ve seen it one too many times. Yet another venue in town is closing due to “the slow and declining economy”. I call B.S.
I see when one of these venues starts looking like it’s about to shut down, there’s INEVITABLY a “call to arms” of sorts where a “fundraiser show” is put together to “help revive and save the failing venue” and I’m sick and tired of it. Let me tell you something: Once a venue needs a fundraiser to stay open, that ship has sailed. It’s like realizing the current is far too strong above a waterfall to swim upstream. The party is over, baby.
Get over this idea that venues bless THE SCENE. Venues don’t open to “build the scene” or “give back to the community”. Venues exist for one purpose…TO MAKE MONEY.
I know this is going to piss off some people in the scene and I’ll probably get some hate-mail over this, but guess what: I DON’T CARE. I don’t care because I know what this is; it’s a scam that takes advantage of innocent and uneducated (or inexperienced) artists that are already losing money on their own artistry and my goal isn’t to make people happy; I’m here to be HONEST.
If you really think that putting on these “fundraisers” to “save the venue” are going to actually turn a venue around and change a history of poor management, YOU ARE DEAD WRONG AND FOOLISH. One show isn’t going to change the fiscal irresponsibility and lack of business sense that’s been in place for years.
Here’s the bottom line: Someone with a little capital decided to open a bar. Bars need bodies in the place to buy booze, because that’s the product with the highest profit margin. So instead of using proven business methods to effectively become self-sustaining, these people build a stage, throw in some lights and a sound system, put it at a crappy area of town because the real estate is cheaper there, and then demand that bands bring in their fans who not only spend their money there, but then become returning customers.
What these venues SHOULD have done was used a little sense and picked out a good location where a local customer base could sustain them, branded it well, developed a solid menu and drink list at a reasonable price, and kept their overhead down by limiting spending, adhering to a strict budget, put a GREAT sound system and stage up, and have the owners INVOLVED in the life of their business.
All these shows do is help venue owners pay those final few bills (if you’re lucky) and then line their pockets a little so they can then take their lack of talent and brains and invest it in yet another abusive and poorly-run business that will keep their over-the-top car in their driveway. SPEAKING OF WHICH: Do you think the owners are going unpaid? Do you ever see THEM working behind the counter or booking shows? Do you see THEM making personal sacrifices to keep their own business afloat? Not a chance. Go ahead: dig up their rent, internet, electric, and water bills and see how many times they’ve been late. Talk to employees and see how many of them haven’t been paid on time or at all. I DARE YOU.
Do you think if your band was in dire need of some extra finance that you could get a venue to donate their entire business for one night to save your career? HELL TO THE NO! Sorry…AIN’T HAPPENING. But you’ll take all your gear, practice time, instruments, fans, and merchandise to go save a venue that never gave you a chance until now. You’re being abused.
Now, look at venues that actually do make a difference in the scene. Look at the venues people LOVE not just for the lights and sound, but for who runs them. You’ll find owners on-site. You’ll find decent food and drink pricing. You’ll find a venue that takes some pride in the stage they provide. AND YOU’LL FIND A CUSTOMER BASE THAT WILL DRIVE THE DISTANCE TO SPEND THEIR MONEY THERE. I drove 20 minutes out of my way 2 days in a row to go eat at a venue that I support because of how they operate.
Let’s stop pretending. It isn’t pretty, but it’s real.
Everyone in music knows her. She exists in every city and seems to be at every show. She’s always the first to arrive, to score the best spot at the front of the stage, and the last to depart. The average show attendee wonders who she is, why she’s up front snapping endless photos and somehow knows every musician’s name and is known by all of our hometown heroes on stage. Most people won’t ever know her value. Most won’t ever learn her name. Most will not ever comprehend the power she has. No one will ever be able to articulate the story that her life’s passion will one day tell.
We all talk about the music scene being a “community” or “economy” and demand that people get out and support the scene. We long for superfans to promote us and drag friends to our shows. Meanwhile, she’s working a full-time job, being a wife, mother, daughter, and friend and STILL makes the time to get to a local music venue 6 to 7 nights a week (and sometimes multiple shows in a day!) to click HUNDREDS of pictures of us, just to then head home and sift through endless images of us head-banging and crooning, edit them, and then put them online WITH CAPTIONS!…and then we forget to put her on the damn guestlist! Once her pictures are online, her photos are used (often without permission) for every press kit, poster, album cover, Tweet, and Facebook posting possible…and she doesn’t get a dime. We sleep on her couches, we eat her food, and we drink her husband’s beer while he makes us a post-show meal at 3am.
She has no angle. She has no vested interest in us. She doesn’t own stock in our product. Yet, she’s there…..EVERY. SINGLE. SHOW. She is one of the biggest driving forces of our local music economy, and never gets so much as a “thank you” from most. When we move up in our careers, she stays behind to keep capturing and we move on to “bigger things”.
What we don’t see is the power she holds and the part she plays in our lives. After all, it’s not just our lives she’s touching and capturing; she’s been shooting live music for 10 years and when we’re gone, she’ll keep shooting those after us. She’s not just taking photos and going to shows; she’s capturing the history of music in our cities. Her work tells the story of the great rises and falls of artists throughout time, and her work helps define who we are.
She is the breath of the artist. She is the promoter that you can’t afford. She genuinely LOVES your music and genuinely wants you to succeed! She has helped MAKE you. Her greatest work is made of our greatest memories.
I know I’m a day late and a dollar short, but Happy Birthday, Mocha. You are truly an inspiration and a VALUED member of not only our community, but also of my own family. When others have forgotten how hard we work and have been distracted, you have stayed with us, faithfully showing up and capturing the greatest moments of our lives. We are truly your opus.
My musical journey has taken many twists and turns and offered untold surprises along the way (and it’s only been 3 years up to now!). But my personal, behind-the-scenes, LIFE journey has been crazier than I could ever communicate on a page or by speaking in front…
It’s been a while since I wrote, and I know there’s no excuse…but for me, writing requires inspiration. I don’t particularly know why I’m inspired to write on this, but I think it needs saying. It could be the whiskey and coke talking, or perhaps it’s the frustration that I feel at the moment in not being able to fully grasp onto what I know I’m meant to do, and to be able to do it while earning a paycheck. This isn’t a music-specific note, but I think it definitely applies. I’m feeling particularly vulnerable at the moment, so please bear with me.
I know I’m a gifted individual. I have talents, I have passion, and I’m perhaps the hardest worker I know. I don’t mean that to sound arrogant in any way, but I’ve only found 3 people in my life that challenge me to work harder because I MUST keep up with them—My wife, my mother, and my current business partner at Setlist Music Solutions.
I’ve owned a construction business for 9 years. I’m tired. I HATE my day job. I hate heights, I hate painting and cleaning gutters, and I HATE the way people look at me when I show up at their homes to do the dirty work. I feel that they perceive me as a loser, and as a screw-up that has nothing to offer society but some hard labor because I didn’t finish high-school and chose to party instead. My extended family doesn’t get why I pursue music. I think they have the idea that I go out, get drunk, promote shows with pole-dancers, and hang out on weekends while neglecting my wife and daughter.
But I KNOW what I really am. My parents raised me to think and to live BIG with no excuses and to not settle for anything less than greatness. I’ve never chosen the easy road, the easy way out, or the soft landings. I’m honest. I finish the job, even if that means losing money. I don’t care what the cost is to do the job right, because that’s who I am and that’s what I want to be known for. I won’t quit, dodge phone calls, or hand out a bill until the job is done, and done RIGHT. I DO NOT lie. I am trustworthy. I’ve never flaked, I’ve paid employees when I didn’t have the money, and I’ve always followed through, regardless of my personal cost or loss. When others have chosen to drop the ball, I’ve picked it up and run with it. I love my wife dearly. I am committed to her. I provide for her. I will do anything for my little girl, and she is the love and joy of my life.
WHEN WILL IT PAY OFF???!!!!! I’m broke, exhausted, broken down, and stressed…but I press on. I have a 4-year degree from the University of Washington. I’ve never worked for another man. I had a job at the age of 13 shoveling rocks on Saturdays when the other kids in town drove around the BMW their parents bought them. I’ve created my own income, never leeching off of an employer, the government, or my parents. I pay my own insurance, my own hospital bills, and I do my own freaking laundry and dishes. Everything I have, I HAVE EARNED in blood, sweat, and tears by the grace of God. I went to high school, ran a business, dated my wife-to-be, played sports, and went to college simultaneously at the age of 17. I won the regional writers competition for the VFW in 8th grade. I won 2 scholarships for writing at UW. I won a singing contest and sang the national anthem at the Tacoma Dome. I finished my degree while running 2 businesses, going to night school full-time, and managed a band from scratch to playing the Tacoma Dome while my wife was pregnant and took a final on the day my child was born…all on a shoestring budget. I get up early, I go to work, I come home and spend time with my family, and then I work on a job that doesn’t pay me until 2am because I need something to live for that I am passionate about. I am resourceful. I strive to be the best at what I do. I am talented. I have a gift.
When will the day come that my gift is recognized? When will I be financially stable? When will I not have to worry about buying groceries? When will my work pay off? Why do others, who are lazy and unreliable, get such great jobs with great pay and live in beautiful homes while I rent and drive old cars? When will people see what I have to offer? When will my gift make room for me?
Tonight I saw a show on SportsCenter about Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin…athletes that had been turned down and overlooked. It was amazing to see that even with such great physical and athletic talent, they couldn’t flourish because they couldn’t perform. They had potential, but analysts and coaches couldn’t see what was beneath the surface. Now, those 2 athletes are perhaps the most notable people in their respective sports in the last year. They were given an opportunity and they CRUSHED IT! They didn’t take some special serum. They didn’t get a super-vitamin. The potential and talent was always there, and THEY NURTURED IT. They didn’t quit when all others said they should. When they were overlooked, they didn’t sulk in self-pity. Finally, when the opportunity arose, they were conditioned and ready.
Everyone has a gift and a God-given talent that is meant for greatness. Half of the time, the system that people are in prevents them from being effective. When those talents are used in the right way at the right time, the results are POWERFUL!…but it all comes down to being ready. If those 2 guys had not been ready, the opportunity of a lifetime would have passed them by and they wouldn’t have even known it.
I will not quit. I have dreams. I have passion. I will be ready when opportunity knocks. I won’t give in to mediocrity or the attitude of entitlement that is beginning to define our society. I REFUSE to be what everyone else settles to be…And regardless of the outcome, I will have chosen my fate, rather than it being chosen for me. I will have made a dent. I will have impacted lives. I will leave a hole when I am gone.
After talking about trusting people I realized that it would probably be good to at least give you a couple of tools for protecting yourself…starting with keeping records.
Yep, I’m one of those anal-retentive and paranoid people that keeps every scrap of evidence to back up my case in most situations. I’d prefer I didn’t have to be that way, but a long history of going through “he said, she said” BS has made it impossible for me to simply go off of conversations and verbal agreements any more.
I don’t necessarily think that everyone is out to get me, but I do think people are out to benefit themselves, even if that means me getting the short end of the stick. People can mean well and they can also say great things…but EVERYONE (yes, even you) at some point remembers saying something or hearing something that the other person doesn’t remember saying or hearing. So make it easy for everyone by writing and keeping everything on permanent file.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, write contracts on email. It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that I want to hold everyone accountable for what was promised, arranged, or agreed upon. I do this with my friends, my business contacts, and yes, even my family.
Keeping emails and texts that are important removes any personal attachment or personal offense because what was said is signed in ink with no room for argument or negotiation. It keeps you from looking like a jerk and keeps everyone honest.
Keep the texts!…and know that if you contact me, I’m most likely keeping track. ;)
I’ve alluded to the issue of not being too trusting, but let me address it directly. Don’t trust ANYONE in the music industry outright. I’m not saying this because I’ve been recently burned or anything, but I do know what being burned by people you trust is like and it’s taught me to be a little slower to believe whatever is being said to me and a lot slower at agreeing to “great opportunities”.
People are full of crap in general. When you learn this, you will have learned one of the greatest lessons that life can teach. I NEVER do ANYTHING for ANYONE until I know I’m protected. Guard your trust, guard your assets, and protect them fiercely. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your business and no fast-talking, money grubbing opportunist should be able to weasel their way into it with a few name-drops and promises.
Tonight was wonderful…I interviewed a new intern for my company, Setlist Management (www.SetlistManagement.com) and I’m thoroughly stoked for the future and what is ahead. But after my meeting I felt like I needed something more…I needed a challenge. I decided to go right to the top of a mountain I’ve been trying to climb for a long time rather than working my way up the chain.
Why do we see a challenge and begin over-thinking, doubting, and looking for a way to diplomatically work our way into good situations through political means and connections rather than hitting things head-on? I’m so tired of kissing up to people through other connections…don’t get me wrong; connectivity is VITAL to our existence and who you know is important. BUT, I think the value of simply asking has disappeared in our world.
"Ask, and you shall receive" is a lost value and I intend to revive it. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR BIG THINGS!!! A famous saying goes, "You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take" and sadly, too many of us simply don’t take the big shots. Miss or not, I want to know that at the end of the day, I took the biggest shot possible. I took the shot everyone else was too scared or intimidated to take, and I’m the one who stands the greatest chance at glory. I may miss, but if I shoot straight, I get to live the dream that others chase for a lifetime.
Guts and the simplicity of asking can open doors that years of playing politics will never touch. I took a shot tonight…and I hit the game-winner. I will never be afraid to ask again.
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DESTINY TO POLITICS. CHOOSE YOUR SHOTS, AND YOU CHOOSE YOUR DESTINY.
You’ve heard the saying, and most of us have probably said it: “Go with your gut.” But in reality, how many times do we ignore the little guiding voice warning us to stay the course? I was reminded this week of how hard it can be at times to stay true to your own goals when pursuing your dreams if you see a shortcut or possible chance you don’t want to miss.
I was offered a show for one of my bands and from the very beginning I knew I didn’t want it and I didn’t feel right about it…but the “reward” at the end of the day was promising a lot, so I started to pursue the carrot at the end of the stick, like a mule being tricked into chasing something they’ll never reach. After deciding to do a little digging on the “opportunity” presented to me, I found that the prize was not as glamorous and the road to the prize much different than advertised, leaving me pissed that I had even wasted my time on any pursuit of what my gut told me was a waste to begin with.
We all want to achieve our dreams and we all want great opportunities, but DON’T EVER go against your conscience. You may miss out on a few things because your gut can be wrong sometimes, but I’d rather choose and be PUMPED and CONFIDENT in my choices because it strikes a chord of passion in me, rather than second-guessing my choices and doing things out of obligation or a desire to not miss out. Choose your own road, make your own choices…you may look back and realize you were wrong, but at least it’sYOUR road that you chose.
When you don’t know what to do, get counsel, and if you still don’t know what to do, do what you feel RIGHT about.
Since my last post, life has been a whirlwind…San Diego Music Festival, great shows, killer panels and learning going on…but the thing I have taken most to heart is how the value of family continues to rise as I grow older…and I’m amazed at how music has played such a huge part in this.
Today is my birthday, and it’s one I’ll never forget. This week, my wife and I lost a baby; it would have been our 2nd child. After an emergency surgery, Melissa had a dangerous drop in blood pressure and we have been in the hospital with 911 calls, ambulance rides, and literal on-the-brink-of-death moments that have made me weep, lose hope, made me question all I do, and feel as alone as I could ever feel.
Through all of my fear and moments of devastation, I have been filled with a deeper appreciation for family that makes all other things in this life insignificant and meaningless in comparison…and I don’t just mean “blood” family.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I put a value on family that I refuse to compromise on, and I don’t believe in a “blood is thicker than water” ideology. Family, to me, is made up of honest, deep, committed relationships where the members care about each other beyond function, are unselfish, and who will stand by and love each other through the hardest moments that include conflict with one another. I am willing to and have walked away from my own relatives at times to remain committed to my real relationships, and I hope this is my lasting legacy…that I will be remembered as a man that was genuine and always committed to relationships until the end or until the other individual chooses to walk away. I will never quit loving.
I cannot express how blessed I have been through this time by my family…all of you who have supported, prayed, and given of yourselves for Melissa, Jael, and I. I have been further convinced that music has given me yet more gifts in the form of loving and supportive friends and I am filled with the hope that whether this music thing goes as big as I think it will or not, I will have the family that I have met and connected with for the rest of my life, and that’s more important than the music or the business.
The alternative to booking through a venue when on tour is booking through bands in the cities where you’re trying to visit. 9 times out of 10, you’ll be able to offer a trade and other bands will take you up on it. I happen to heavily prefer this method for several reasons (keep in mind that this is assuming I’m booking for a developing independent act on tour):
1. The Band Has Local Ties To Venues - If a band from Portland attempts to book a show in their city as opposed to you, the venues automatically prefer the band who’s listed hometown online is local, and assume they have a draw of some sort.
2. The Band Usually Has A Relationship With Venues - Venues like working with bands they know and trust. They know what to expect from individuals, how many people they bring, how to build a bill around them, and they will generally allow certain bands leeway to bring in other quality acts that they vouch for. I have also found that bookers give me more leeway simply because of my reputation with them, especially if I commit to covering the draw for an out-of-town band.
3. It Expands Your Network - I’m a FIRM believer in the philosophy that you NEED other bands in your musical journey, and you MUST be connected in a community of bands to have any success. Bands support you, they plug you, you get their crossover, and you gain ALLIES and FRIENDS FOR LIFE (which is the best part of this whole music dream!).
4. It Gives You A Place To Stay - I don’t know about you, but I like beds better than van floors. Hosting bands almost always love to have guest bands in their pad/shack/basement, etc….it saves your back and your money, and it’s generally a safer place to park your van with all your gear for the night.
5. You Get To Play In Front Of People - Nothing sucks worse than playing in an empty room on tour. It’s a complete waste of your time. No people = No payout, no merch sales, and no new fans. Take advantage of other bands’ fan bases!
After this little series on touring, I’ll cover the art of show trades in-depth…there are some crazy stories and certain ways to do things that will save you some serious pain.
Touring Part 3 (cont.)- Getting Shows Through Bookers/Venues
Alright I’ll just continue right where I left off on getting shows through bookers:
4. Don’t Ask Stupid Questions - Venues have websites and calendars for a reason (well, decent venues do anyway). Make sure to check the place out, research where they’re located, find out whether shows are 21+, and LOOK AT THE CALENDAR! It is booking suicide to write a venue asking if a night is free when right there on the calendar it has a bill listed…if it’s already booked, ask to be added as an opener…If it’s not, ask to be a part and then jockey for a decent slot without getting greedy.
5. Use Your Relationships - This world is all about who you know, and what you do with what you know to use who you know to influence others. Use every relational resource you have to get the ear of a booker…they’ll do their friend’s friends favors often.
6. Don’t Be Too Narrow In Your Vision - I wouldn’t say to aim low, but I also wouldn’t advise you to shoot only for the biggest venue in the money-slot for a single date. I’d cast a net to several venues for a 2 or 3-day window of when you need a show and see who bites. You may not get the venue you want, but a show is better than no show at all and you might even get more than one show. You just may have to play the crap place at first…but if your product is the best on the stage that night, word will spread and you’ll be playing the big place in no time!
7. Treat Opportunities Like Gold - Regardless of venue, it’s that booker’s WORLD. It’s what they work for, try to improve, think about, and find their identity in. Don’t EVER, for any reason, treat a venue like it’s worth less than another. I think your booking strategy has to change for each place, but you never know who you’re dealing with, what doors they can open for you, or how they could tarnish your name if pissed-off.
Take Care my friends! Pass on the blog if you like. More soon.
Touring Part 3 - Getting Shows Through Bookers/Venues
You’ve narrowed down your target area and selected key cities to play. Now you need some shows locked in. Obviously, you’re going have to take cash into account, but money is going to be dealt with throughout the entire touring process and I’ll be cover that later.
There are 2 ways that I book shows: Through bookers/venues, and through other bands. When attempting to book shows directly through the venues, there are some key points to keep in mind when making contact:
1. Professional Contact = More (and better) Responses - DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT send some half-assed 3-sentence email with misspellings and bad grammar saying, “we are on tour and want to play your venue” or anything of that sort. I have had bands ask me for help with this pathetic effort and I won’t even respond. If I have to ask everything I need to know about your band, you have wasted my time. When asking a favor of someone, it’s a good idea to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes. When you write, include as much valuable information as possible: who you are and who you represent, where you’re from, the dates you are looking for, the kind of draw you have in the area, and where I can hear and see (YouTube) your music. Most clubs care about one thing with bands: THE MONEY FANS MAKE THEIR CLUB…do whatever you can to quickly direct their focus to you and off of the night’s take and this means making it easy. Include a signature at the bottom of your email…I’d even go so far as to suggest using the same basic email and just adjust it to each venue you contact.
2. Proper Representation - I have tripled the amount of responses and doubled the actual bookings per tour by approaching clubs as a manager/booker/representative rather than as a band member. Clubs are inundated with requests from touring bands and the majority are flaky, unresponsive, late, unorganized, and lazy. Whether you like it or not, you’ve already been judged by the person receiving your email simply because of your position. Bookers think they’re above you when you’re in a band, but for some reason they respond better to their “peers” in the booking business, even if they have to turn you down. This may be due to the fact that they know bookers/managers deal with setting up tours and know when they’re getting screwed/toyed with. I’m may be biased, but I think this is another reason management is vital to artist success.
3. A Good Resume’ Does Help - The artist’s version of a resume’ is called a "1-sheet". Thomas Starks (www.facebook.com/thomasstarksmusic and www.thomasstarks.tumblr.com) lovingly chewed me out for not having a 1-sheet for my bands and I IMMEDIATELY went and made one. I have found a 1-sheet to be INVALUABLE to booking shows. Your 1-sheet should be short, sweet, and to the point while packing as much information about your project into one sheet of paper. I attach my 1-sheet as a pdf to all booking emails and make the online links clickable.
This is getting long and it’s past midnight…I’ll continue this part tomorrow. Talk soon!
In part 1, I covered the reasons to tour (as I see them) and although it seems rather simplistic in nature, I hope that it helps your mindset become a little more pointed in regard to touring. After aligning the reasons for a tour, the next obvious question needing answered is “Where do we go?”
The “where” is nearly as important as the “why” when considering touring, and unfortunately, I (like many bands) have had to learn the hard way where to tour and when to tour those areas. STEPS FOR WHERE TO TOUR: 1. Choose a key region. 2. Choose key cities/towns within your chosen region.
1. Choosing Your Region
Before you even choose a region, adjust your mindset to seeing certain significant areas as regions rather than regions as determined by mapmakers. When touring, you don’t have to tour the ENTIRE NorthWest or the ENTIRE West Coast. If I could do it over again, I would probably choose a smaller area closer to home to conquer first rather than trying to invade the entire coast on the first trip. I think it’s always good to be bold and reach out of your comfort zone, but even the greatest warlords of history have failed in conquest when straying too far from the supply lines. Having said this, I also am blessed enough to live in a place rich with places to play…some are not so lucky and will have to choose a region that may even require relocation.
Make sure to choose a region where there are numerous key locations of impact inside that area. If you’re going on a “tour”, then your tour should place you in locations close enough in proximity to one another for word to spread, but far enough away from each other where you know you’re hitting almost an entirely different crowd. Your “region” may be small like a single town, or it could be a huge area. This can mean a venue on one side of a town or an entirely different city a state away. Either way, plan to have multiple points of strategic attack and product placement for maximum accessibility.
2. Choosing key locations/cities:
The key to choosing locations within a region is by simply seeing all aspects of touring through the lens of fan-base growth. I am a firm believer in playing as many shows as possible while touring, but I’m also realizing that if you don’t plan on touring those locations on a regular basis to develop a consistent and dedicated fan base, you’re wasting your time. What good does it do, especially as an independent DIY band, to play a city once and not return any time soon? You may grab a few ears, but how do you continue to keep those new fans interested/involved if you’re not going to give them more opportunities to see you?
I learned the hard way on my first tour. I found a region that was huge, chose a large list of cities, and then blasted an innumerable amount of venues with booking requests and tried to put the stops in some sort of practical order for travel planning. THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLAN. It’s always good to remain flexible when planning a tour, but some things you cannot compromise on, and location is one of them. Have a pointed set of goals that includes places that are important for you to OWN, and then make sure you intend to rise to the top of the list of bands known in that location by keeping a presence there.
Check back soon for more and PLEASE comment or make suggestions! I want to know if this is helping in any way or if I can try to answer things I may be missing.
As one of my bands recently just finished another full west-coast tour, I think it would be good to put down some of the lessons learned, tips for booking, how to travel, etc. Please keep in mind that this is not necessarily a handbook for touring or a set of rules that work for everyone, but rather my self-taught-through-trial-and-error set of findings as a manager for an unsigned band. I’m sure that signed bands have a completely different experience. Next tour, I’ll probably throw a few of my current findings out, but that’s just part of the process.
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER BEFORE TOURING IS “WHY AM I GOING ON TOUR?” Everyone wants to tour. I don’t think I’ve ever run into a single musician that just wants to perform in the same town his/her entire career. The whole dream of “going big” is synonymous with performing all over the world, playing the biggest and best venues. BUT!…if you’re touring just to tour, see the sights, and don’t have a clear set of goals and resources, you’re wasting a lot of time and A LOT OF MONEY.
There are 2 terms that completely define if and when my bands tour: “Fan-base Growth" and "Product Distribution”.
1. Fan-base Growth:
Fan-base growth is the single most important reason and essentially the only ultimate reason for touring. When you tour, you are playing in cities and towns where you are an unknown. Fresh sounds on fresh ears in fresh venues is VITAL to band development. If you could live the rockstar life, make millions of dollars, and be all over the radio by simply playing locally, U2 wouldn’t be coming to your city every few years. Playing in front of new ears means making new fans, and making new fans means more people to tell others about you, and in the end, people equal resource…YES, I’M TALKING ABOUT MONEY.
The bottom line is that bands make MUCH more on shows than they do on albums. This trend will continue to shift as bands become more independently successful (see my post http://gabrielmira.tumblr.com/post/7432420053/independents-day ) but until then, this is still how it works, ESPECIALLY for smaller bands without huge distribution deals to get music out there for the masses to buy.
To put it simply, you need to have the goal of fan contact at the top of your list of reasons why you are touring. Not only will this help you develop better ways to reach fans on the go, but it will also force you to tighten your budget, maximize resources, prioritize where you play and how you book, decide how often you tour, and track your success.
2. Product Distribution:
If you don’t have a product (at least your music. If you have other merchandise, that’s even better) that is a GOOD-TO-GREAT representation of you, DO NOT TOUR. PERIOD. If fans can’t get access to your music to listen to and show to others, why do you play any shows at all? I understand that recording costs money, but Garage Band on a friend’s laptop is better than nothing at all…and once you develop a local fan base and get some cash, spend it on a product that represents you well, and then you consider touring.
Long story short, a vision without a plan is a fantasy, and unless the plan is going to grow you toward financial independence, you’re just losing work hours and paying for a really expensive and stressful vacation where you haul around a lot of heavy gear to a bunch of crappy bars and perform short sets on garbage sound systems for a group of people who couldn’t give a crap less about your music. Touring is strategic and needs to be planned.
Yes, I’m back. It’s been 3 weeks since I last wrote and it’s been INSANE. Between being sick with an extended stay in the hospital (google “rhabdomyolysis” …it sucks) and then flying to LA for some music connections, I’ve neglected to keep putting down my thoughts. However, the last 3 weeks have given me LOADS of ammunition to fire at you and the next several writings will be posted frequently and will be packed with helpful info.
As far as updates go, BIG things seem to be happening in my journey in music. I’m going to be bringing on a new band to manage, I have a producer from Memphis flying in on Thursday for meetings, my Ben Union boys just rocked the Viper Room on tour, Perry Acker will be releasing a new album shortly (my partner, Sean Hensley’s main project), branding and trademarking is taking place, new albums are being recorded, and I feel like some headway is really being made.
I’m sure that I’m not the only person that is always looking for the next “high” in this whole music thing. What seemed like a “big show” or “big opportunity” in the beginning now seems like such a small thing, and I’m sure that the things I am currently considering “huge” will appear insignificant a year from now. I just have to keep in mind that there will be highs, lows, lulls, accelerations, glorious peaks, and dismal valleys and through it all I must continue to chase the elusive dream and scrap for every bone this life throws me. If I do what others refuse to do now, I’ll have what everyone else wants later.
Speaking of taking advantage of opportunities, you NEED to check out Seattle band (soon to be national act) Hot Bodies In Motion (www.hotbodiesinmotion.com). These guys are incredible and just scored a contract with Lionsgate to have an original song placed in a major motion picture. Great dudes with great music and a year from now you’ll wish you would have seen them live for $10 when you had the chance.
Check back soon for an infusion of info. For now, I’m gonna be enjoying the view in paradise.
I thought I’d follow up my blog from yesterday by sharing an interesting article regarding how some of the elite of the music industry fabricate “hit” songs and essentially create artists and fan-bases. I’m not really a fan of how this works but it’s interesting to see how much buying power labels really have and how influential they are on the entire music culture that we are familiar with.
Some call it, “The 4th”, while some refer to the reason we celebrate it by calling it “Independence Day”. I took some time this past holiday weekend to think about the day that we celebrate as the birth of our nation and how the United States were essentially birthed out of rebellion as ragtag revolutionists fighting to stand alone without being tyrannically ruled by a huge empire. I’m not sure how, but somewhere during my day, this turned into me thinking about music and where my bands currently are and how to move to the next step effectively and how it relates to freedom.
I was asking questions like, “How do I move to the next level? How do I attract a label? Do I need to move to L.A.? What resourceful person can I contact? Who’s butt must I kiss to get ahead? Where must I sacrifice creativity to gain financial freedom to do what I’m passionate about?”…and then it hit me… “WHY AM I WORKING SO HARD TO GET SOME HUGE, CONTROLLING MEGA LABEL’S ATTENTION WHERE I CAN GIVE AWAY ALL MY RIGHTS TO GET A LITTLE AIRPLAY WHILE SOME FILTHY-RICH EXECUTIVE GETS 85% OF ALL THE MONEY MY MUSIC GENERATES?!”
Why have we bought into this whole music culture deception that says we have to be signed to be successful? Why should you have to get down on your knees (along with a million other musicians) and beg for the magic nod of approval from some rich guy or board of directors to get your project funded and “make your product legit”? Who’s bowing to the king of England now?
I’m not some impractical idealist that calls all signed artists “sellouts”. I don’t have a problem with buying music or seeing successful musicians get wealthy from their product. Would I like to get signed by a huge label? HECK YES. There’s NOTHING wrong with getting the attention of an “elite” group that is willing to put my face on a billboard and pay me millions to do what I love by buying some rights to my art. I also understand the monopoly that labels have created and how hard it is to go anywhere significant without one…a label is a HUGE help and I hope to get signed someday if it’s a good deal.
On the other hand, there is a revolutionary and rebellious strain in my blood that I can’t deny. I LOVE to see people take initiative, refuse to compromise, make it happen on their own, stick it to the man, and take money from the corporate machine by creating their own future and destiny! I can’t stand being controlled, watching monopolies kill off the little guy. Execs are taking tons of cash, artists are being ripped off, and music has become such a “business” that the reasons behind the music are being lost…but I’m being given hope.
The music industry is in trouble and it’s obvious. Sales are tanking, profits are diminishing, and record labels are scared. Between downloading music and Apple making it so easy to record independently, the whole giant system is on the brink of collapse…AND I LOVE IT. I love it because the little ragtag engineers, producers and bands are finding ways to survive the onslaught of corporate control. They are taking lesser weapons of the trade and making better products that are unique, and most importantly, THEIRS. A label can’t take it and change it, tweak it and turn it into a Rihanna remix that is some cheap bastardized version of what it once was. Independent success is a guerilla movement that’s becoming a full-on revolution. The more that do it, the more the pennies out of the pockets of the elitists add up.
Don’t ever quit. Steal the big man’s market. Take the fans. Take the money. Learn to monetize. Build so much leverage that it scares the crap out of the labels—-make them HAVE TO sign you because they’re gonna lose money if they don’t—-and then make them PAY UP. No shelf deals. No creative control. Make THEM WORK FOR YOU. Make them adjust. Be independently successful.
Don’t spend all your time “trying to get signed” instead of making your own future. Be revolutionary. Be a force to deal with. Make trouble. Let’s change the game and force the redcoats of the music machine to give us what we want…otherwise we’re just slaves in this whole scheme.
Opportunities for furthering yourself are ALWAYS present. They sometimes whisper, sometimes knock softly, and other times they scream at you to get your attention. Opportunity doesn’t always just fall into your lap but is rather hard to grasp sometimes. Regardless of how opportunity shows itself to you, the point is that YOU have to SEIZE THE MOMENT!
Divine moments are almost always “windows”. Windows of opportunity open, stay open for a while, and then inevitably shut. Sometimes these windows are only cracked, sometimes they are wide open, sometimes they are open a long time, and some are only open for a moment. I am determined that every time I even SMELL an open window of opportunity, regardless of how little it’s cracked or how tiny the chance, I’m going to kick it as hard as I possibly can to make sure I get through it! If I don’t hit the opening as hard as I can, the moment will pass me by and it’s gone forever. BULL RUSH your moments. DO NOT HOLD BACK. You won’t have that particular chance again!
I do believe that more people are given chances to make great things happen than others, but I also think that taking advantage of moments gives you more moments to capitalize on. Sure, it may be far fetched to chase down a “celebrity” in a parking lot to put a cd in their hand, but if you don’t, you’ll never know what might have happened. Suppose they do listen to it…Suppose they do like it…How many windows of opportunity just swung open for you?! IN OTHER WORDS: The more times you seize the moment, the more moments you will be given to seize.
I’m saying all this (which is also why I haven’t blogged for 6 days) to announce that as of today, I am the New A&R Coordinator / Assistant Director of Artist Development at Setlist Management. I believe that this is a moment where time meets destiny and an opportunity that I must take full advantage of. Sean Hensley, Owner of Setlist Management, has become a trusted friend and management professional that I respect and I think he has a ton to offer in knowledge of the music industry. It’s rare to find an individual and a team of people I respect, trust, and feel as though my own destiny is wrapped up in theirs and this is a window that I will be hitting hard. Huge thanks to Sean and all those I work with in this music dream.
I played the Tacoma Dome with my band a few months ago in front of over 15,000 people, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like playing in front of thousands of people and hearing the roaring applause when you’re done
(this picture is of the back of my head from the T-Dome; here’s the entire…
This weekend, one of my bands played a rocking show in Fremont to a full house and it was ROWDY! Fans bought pre-sale tickets, paid at the door, had some beers at the bar while listening to the openers, and then danced for my boys’ set. It was electric and a blast.
The morning after the show, I received a couple of encouraging comments on Facebook and emails from fans that enjoyed the show, as I’m sure most bands do on the next day…and it got me thinking:
“Not only did these people take time to go to a show, but they also drove (up to an hour), paid for parking, paid for a ticket, bought beer/food at the bar, brought friends, cheered for the band, took photos, mentioned the show on multiple social networking sites, and then bought merchandise and then drove all the way home just to sit a a computer and write notes to the band about how great they are.”
I’ve always said to my bands that “people are your greatest resource” but I think I had a simple thought that every musician needs to not only hear, but act according to: YOU NEED YOUR FANS FAR MORE THAN THEY NEED YOU.
You sit down, write some songs, practice them, and then call all your friends to spread the word that you have a show and SOMEHOW people show up and give TONS of expendable income that could be spent elsewhere. These people are your leverage when working with bars, clubs, labels, and anyone else you try to do business with. They support you, buy your gear, keep the venues happy by buying drinks, and they are YOUR GREATEST ADVERTISERS—and they pay YOU!
I cannot tell you how often I see artists completely take their fans for granted. They hide in the green room, play the show, load out, and then hide backstage from the very people that have put them on the stage. “You’re welcome” might as well come out of their mouths along with a snide “you don’t matter”.
I understand that you can’t please everyone. You can’t talk to everyone. You can’t remember every single person’s name and it gets more difficult as you get more fans…but this is NO EXCUSE to not make a giant effort and make it clear that you care.
CARE FOR YOUR FANS. KNOW THEM. COMMUNICATE WITH THEM. MAKE THEM BELIEVE IN SOMETHING MORE THAN YOUR MUSIC, AND THEY’LL KILL FOR YOU.
You don’t just want fans, you want people who have a personal investment in your product.
Even though I should be buttering you up with my 2nd post to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside so you keep reading, I think it would be best to hit you with the truth right away—which may be disappointing, but is the point of why I’m writing at all and also the most important thing you should understand in today’s music world. So here goes: YOUR MUSIC IS A PRODUCT AND A BUSINESS, LIKE IT OR NOT…That’s the bottom line.
I know and understand what all of you left-brain free-spirited “artists” are thinking: “How DARE you call my ART and PROCLAMATIONS OF THE SOUL some version of a twisted business campaign selling out to corporate America?!” —-I hate to break it to you, but I’ve promised to be honest. Although music is an artistic expression of self or a passion or a creative outlet (or whatever other way you want to describe it), in order to be able to support yourself with your passion in music, make a decent living of any kind, or just gain a large fan base—You MUST have a product for people to buy into. I’m not talking about a burned demo that you sell out of your guitar case for $5; I’m talking about the complete package of YOU and your brand.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not writing this to bum you out, spit on your views or your music…I simply want to help you adjust your mindset and see the world of music from an unbiased and realistic perspective that will help you make your DREAM a REALITY. If this takes asking hard questions and making abrasive statements, I’ll do it to save you from finding out the truth the hard way. Here are a few questions to get your mind running:
Do you honestly think that record labels, execs, and investors care about your music or your “sound”? Do you think that the everyday 18 year-old pop queens (who are the primary buyers of music that is on the radio) care about and understand your politically-charged or philosophical lyrics? Do large inebriated crowds at bars and clubs care about or even notice the complex notes you’re playing with precision?
You may think, “Well, I don’t care what they think…my music isn’t for them. I don’t care if they like it or want more than that.” YOU SHOULD. THESE PEOPLE ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS, AND IF THEY AREN’T HAPPY AND BUYING YOUR PRODUCT, THEY’RE BUYING ELSEWHERE…AND YOU’LL GO OUT OF BUSINESS.
The hard reality about the music industry is that your music is not enough. It isn’t God’s gift to the world, it isn’t everyone’s favorite, it isn’t going to get you signed, and it isn’t going to last forever. How many incredibly talented people have you seen, heard, known, and forgotten because they didn’t understand the business side of the music? Many are the broken dreams of those who wrote and played with no attention to the perfection of the COMPLETE PRODUCT. Successful musicians are almost always more than simply the music they make. Sure, there are a couple of people that have made it big on their music alone, but how many Britney Spears are there? ;) Okay, that was mean.
I know this is a teaser. I know I’ve stirred the nest…and I intend for it to get you questioning your brand and total package. I don’t have the time to write all the solutions this time around, but I hope this has you asking some questions such as, “Who am I selling to? Who should I be selling to? How does my product reach all customers that I’m trying to reach? Where can my product be improved? Who am I neglecting? How palatable to the public is my product?”
Keep asking, keep thinking, keep adjusting. I’ll give the answers soon.
INCREASED. BUILT. SUCCESSFUL. REVOLUTIONIZED. PERFECTED. - These are words that I intend for YOU to use repeatedly in the future when describing what this blog has done for you in YOUR journey in music. Whether you are a do-it-yourself booker/band member or a manager grasping for ways to make your product stand out, how to book better shows, connect with fans, build fan bases, work social sites, and avoid pitfalls, THIS IS FOR YOU.
Let me preface further statements by saying that I realize I’m not God’s gift to the world or the final word on music, management, business, or anything else. I don’t assume that there aren’t a thousand other “bloggers” or “experts” out there writing and giving opinions on how things should be done or how good they are at what they do. I’m not rich or famous because of music management or because of my multiple corporations…YET. I’m just finally doing something I’m passionate about that I’m becoming good at and I have a knack for, and hopefully my résumé proves that I have something to offer to musicians, managers, and other entrepreneurs that will help give perspective and ideas or maybe just help them avoid some of my mistakes.
The Highlights of My Music/Business/Life Experience in a Nutshell:
I’ve started and successfully run 2 businesses, at the same time earning a BA from UW, while also working as head architect and engineer of the Ben Union project (www.benunion.com), which has gone from a jam session on a bridge 2 years ago to playing premier west-coast venues and festivals. I’ve traveled the world, worked alongside brilliant businessmen, rubbed shoulders with internationally-known politicians and civil-rights leaders, sung the national anthem in the Tacoma Dome, performed music and spoken publicly in front of thousands. This isn’t to boast in accomplishments, but rather to say: “I mean business. I want the best and I want it all. My words are from experience, not assumptions.”
I believe in representing the best, performing the best, booking the best at the best for the best, and never compromising a quality product that is built for long-term success. I am firmly committed to making sure that my product on the stage is the best product on the stage…every time. I also believe that there is no danger in thinking your product is the best…the danger is thinking that your product cannot be improved.
This is a site mainly for bands/artists or managers, but I would hope that any info could be used in any form of business. Whether building my own private businesses or managing artists, the principles that I hold to are the same, and I believe they are the key to any success I’ve had.
Please ask questions and I promise honest answers. I love to connect people and give insight where I can. I’m here to help in any way possible and I would love to get to know some of you. Also tell me if you have a differing opinion and what’s worked for you. I’m willing to learn and always open to change. I want to become the BEST at what I do, and if you can help by telling me I’m an idiot, then so be it!
Keep coming back daily for more info and thoughts and I’ll do whatever it takes to get a post in as much as possible…even if it has to be short. Keep chasing the dream and let’s build together.