1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Songwriting without an audience is a hobby. Know your audience. Who are the people you're trying to reach?
- Any consumer business can tell you everything about their core customer. Can you? Demographics has everything to say about how you market.
-What is this core group you are looking for? Lyrically, emotionally, tempo, vibe, feel, etc.
-Where do they listen to their music?
-If you can’t identify your audience, you can’t market to them
-Most of the time in popular music, your market is predominantly female
-Who are the gatekeepers (if any) to get to that audience?
For example, consider youth education music studies
Questions to ask: Who makes up that market? Kids 9-18 Next, who are the gatekeepers? Educators.
-Market to both the kids AND music educators
-Music education conferences where educators go to learn and network and develop
Further questions help refine understanding:
What is the education level? Where do they live? What do they do? What are their hobbies?
2. CREATE A NETWORK OF PEOPLE
The Music Business is full of individuals. Success stories involve TEAM EFFORTS.
-Most people think network is an upward motion. The truth is that the a network among your peers is just as valuable. You have to build a network around you before you move up, reach up. Keep communities growing up.
-Not only people you want to get to, but people at your level
-You have to know who does what in your particular industry. Need to know your audience and the people in that network.
Focus your network on what you are trying to achieve.
3. DEVELOP A STRATEGY
Market and Network: How do we bring them together? Answer: The Synthesis of who you know and what you are trying to achieve. How will I get to this person?
The Music Industry has and uses MODELS. Identify the model you need.
4. CREATE HITS
No better tool than a hit song. With 1 hit song and 9 crap songs, you will get signed before the artists with 10 good songs
-Hit songs are the currency of the music business.
Problem: What is a hit? Billboard Guide to Writing and Recording Songs that Sell is another of Beall's outstanding works. Find it here on Amazon.
-a hit song is the first single
-Song announces to the world who this artist is. Defines or redefines the artist.
-Do they have the 1st single? Specific functions to that song:
1. Get on the radio, so it has to fit a radio format.
Has to work as radio (or whatever RADIO means for your genre).
2. Define the artist
Hit songs are catchy and give you this IMAGE.
Ex: Stones’ “Satisfaction”
-attitude, sound, influences, elements
3. Breaks Through and Elicits Reaction
*Hit writers who write hit after hit, aim at a target consistently.
100 people at the target range
90 have eyes closed
5 have eyes open but lack focus
5 see the target clearly
The greats are always willing to take criticism and revise/change. Being precious doesn’t help. If they really believe it, they’ll fight for it.
5. KNOW MUSIC PUBLISHING
Songwriting is art. Publishing is the business of monetizing a creative act.
Making Music Make Money is Eric Beall's fine book on the subject. Get it at Amazon.
1. Exploitation: places that will use music, how, who
2. Licensing: process of getting people to PAY for exploitation. Usually this involves NEGOTIOTION PROCESS or USE
3. Collection: get that money. Who collects?
4. Protection: No biz in licensing if you can’t protect use
Key to protection is understanding where your threats are:
-Sampling (though perhaps not a threat: If you get sampled, stay quiet, and let it become a hit, and THEN speak up to get paid!)
-Split disputes: 99.7% of threats have to do with internal, not external, people involved in the song
SPLIT LETTERS (note: for two sample collaborator agreements, refer to those previous entries in this blog)
-Agree to positions
Keep work tapes or files and show process
-Use work for hire agreements
-Plagiarism: copyright registration may not be that useful
A copyright is still only a CLAIM. Need to maintain PROOF.
-claim that they stole it from someone else
Summing up: Self-sufficiency creatively means you have limited your creative network. You’ll need to grow your professional relationships. Great writers court their relationships to build their networks.