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Are you a Follower or Leader in the Music Industry?

“The function of the creative artist consists of making laws, not in following laws already made” (Ferruccio Busoni)

There are two types of songwriters, music producers and artists: The follower and the leader.
The Follower: Will work very hard to write what is the hottest trend, write about familiar subjects that are commonly heard on the radio or in music, produce similar sounding productions or emulate different styles of music.

The Leader: Will intuitively look beyond the norm, push boundaries, will listen for what is not heard, will analyze and change up things with a driving passion, will shoot to be a trendsetter and will take risks with the results ending in either things really great or really whack.

Being a follower or leader is not wrong, just different – each role has its purpose and place. Not everyone is supposed to be a leader and not everyone is supposed to be a follower. However, when you find out which one you are, it will help you determine how to network and who you need in your circle to achieve your goals. So which one are you?

Music Tutorial Article:
Are you a Follower or a Leader in the Music Industry?

1) If you are a follower, you like to keep busy, you may like someone else doing the research and giving you direction. You might enjoy being creative in the process of projects. It would be easier for you to be a studio engineer, make beats or write songs. When networking, people who have a lot of ideas, who run a label or who like promotion and marketing would be great relationships for your goals.

2) If you are a leader, you have tons of ideas, you may find many people always asking you questions or for your opinion, you might like to do many things at once, you tend to ‘get things started’ in a group setting and it won’t matter the topic of starting or running a label, studio, selling beats or writing songs, you’ll find a way to get it all done and manage to not get bogged down.

There are a lot of resources about the roles of being a follower or leader. These are just a few basic characteristics. Keep in mind that you can be a leader in a certain area and a follower in another – they can definitely overlap.

In summary, there is creativity and new rules to make in each role. Figure out and enjoy which one you are, network where you can, work towards staying in your strengths and enjoy the process along the way to achieve your goals in the music industry.

How do I get people to Listen to my Beats?

One of the top questions I get from producers and artists who I meet through is: How do I get people to listen to my beats?
Here are 4 things you can do to get people to listen to your beats and get your music in the right hands.

1) Music Creativity: For simplicity I will sum up 3 ways you can gear your music towards.
A. You can copy the mainstream and mimic the styles, lyrics and sounds.
B. Be so completely creative that no one can ‘understand’ what you are creating.
C. Find your personal balance of what you love hearing and blend it with your own style

How do you do this? Study your favorites. Don’t copy, mix and match, switch it up. Today’s reality is that SOMEONE has inspired you and chances are you’re going to sound like someone who came before you. It will more than likely be who you listen to a lot. I don’t care what anyone says, they are not looking for the next ‘so and so who in #1 on the charts’. You will come and go and be the next one hit wonder. If you plan on doing music for awhile, find your style and stick with it. The majority of professional artists who have been around through the years have found their style, created a ‘brand’ and kept doing what they love for 10-20 years. This is also something worth studying.

2) Excellent Sound Quality: There is no such thing as a demo. Technology these days is amazing. There is absolutely no reason why your music should sound amateur. When someone listens to your music and it is not excellent quality they are going to think you are whack promoting your material as completed when it is still a demo.

3) Study your Music Industry: If you are in Hip Hop, Reggaeton, RnB, Dance or Rock music you have an entirely different music industry. There are different networking events to attend, different people to meet and different ways you can personally figure out how to get your music in the right hands. Make absolutely sure that you are making music that is in a style or that is so weird and uniquely amazing that it doesn’t need one. All it takes is for one person to really ‘get you’ and spread the word.

4) Great Artwork: Let’s put it this way, if your artwork and photos are whack, your music is whack. It is better to have no artwork than something that looks like you’ve been lost in time travel for 20 years. On the other end of the spectrum, invest in yourself! You ‘can’ just write on your CD but wouldn’t you rather represent the music you have worked so hard to create professionally?

From my experience and listening to MANY demos, I have found by good planning and really ‘thinking’ about your music packaging and promotion, you will have a better chance of getting people to listen to your beats. Not only that, you’ll get your music into the right hands.

If you want additional info on the subject, contact us for a training consultation.

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Music Industry Sales for Independent Artists

For the past 10 years we have heard the doom and gloom about music industry sales decreasing and music piracy increasing. Well for once in the past 10 years I came across these Music Industry Sales Stats and this info is especially inspiring for independent artists.

If you look at these Music Industry Sales Stats, it is quite exciting to see that independent labels are ranked #4 as one of the ‘big four’ top contenders who own the music industry. Numbers are numbers and speculation is speculation but just think.. 10 years ago there was no possible way those numbers could even exist for independent labels and artists..

My Point?

  • Keep Writing inspiring music, do something DIFFERENT, you don’t have time to waste!
  • Only you have your unique talent to express. If you don’t, it is lost forever.
  • Work on your craft, get it professional and let the world listen, NOW!

Music Industry Sales Stats (v2)
Filed under: InfoGraphic, Music, Music Industry, Sales Stats.

Music Industry Sales Stats – A worldwide business of over 60 billion dollars per year, the music industry claims to be a huge victim of online piracy. What do the numbers actually say?

The Sad State of the Old Music Business – In surveying the state of the business now, many of the decisions made by music executives over the past 12 years have resulted in nothing less than complete failure.

How to be a Pioneer in the Music Industry

It can seem like a daunting challenge breaking through in music. These days, it seems like everyone and their mother is doing music. With new technologies its even easier to make great sounding beats and vocals sound amazing ‘out of the box’. However, there is no replacing a Pioneer.. No matter what challenges they face, Pioneer’s find a way to make it work…

Pioneers are innovators, the people on the cutting edge of research. They thrive on new beginnings and uncharted territories. They look for new ways of doing things and offer a fresh approach to new models. Pioneers are few and far between. Most people are followers but pioneers are free-thinkers, researchers of truth and radical in their creativity. They are born to question and made to give answers to life’s most unsolved problems.

Here are 6 ways on how to be a Pioneer in the Music Industry:

1)    Face criticism.
Criticism is a tough reality to face but it is easy to navigate with the right mind frame. Knowing who you are and what you stand for is key along with acknowledging that not everyone is going to see what you see. Trusting your instincts without doubt, never wavering in your convictions and knowing when to shut the door on your critics.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You’ll be criticized anyway.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

2)    If you fail, try again.
When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb he was praised and acclaimed but not much is mentioned on how many times he failed before he finally got it. Edison once stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that don’t work.” Since pioneers are breaking new ground, trial and error should be expected. So don’t be surprised at failure and don’t let it get you down. Mistakes are sometimes the only way you learn. This is especially true when it comes to marketing your music. Thinking outside the box can bring rich rewards or giant belly flops. Don’t allow failure to deter you, instead, cultivate tenacity and acknowledge your discoveries.

3)    Ignore lonely, it’s a choice.
“Is there anybody out there…there, there, there…anybody!?!”  Pioneers can tend to get isolated, especially when your hard at work at projects. Lots of late nights can have you eating alone at your computer at times and editing for long hours can leave you wondering what planet your on.  You can often think, “Surely, no one’s struggling through this like I am.” Well you are wrong. Ta da! There are thousands, maybe millions of pioneers feeling the lonelies just like you – nothing that hot date or night out with friends can’t cure. Loneliness is an illusion, it doesn’t really exist. Crawl out of your hole once in awhile and participate with society, get refreshed, then go back at it.

4)    Stand on the shoulders of others.
You can’t do this alone and you shouldn’t. Being a pioneer in the music industry is hard enough, doing it alone is not necessary. That’s why we offer the Computer Music School Network so you can connect with others on the same road. Also, there are tons of books, teachings, friends and elders out there that can inspire your dream to fruition. You must be on the look out for other pioneers that have made it and are doing what they love to do. Then walk in their footsteps. Success always leaves a trail. Search out those people that have walked the journey ahead of you. Open your eyes, they are all around, so humble yourself and take advantage of them.

5)    Count the cost.
Pioneering and personal risk go hand and hand. If your heart wasn’t on the line 24/7, you wouldn’t be as passionate, do you agree? Your blood, sweat and tears should be all over this thing and if it ain’t then you’re not trying hard enough. Other people may never understand this lifestyle and they’re not meant to. If they want to dress in beige and mow their perfect lawns within the comfort of their boring 9-5 jobs, good for them! That’s not for pioneers! Mothers should be scoffing at your insane schedule and fathers should be preaching to you about health care… Pioneers make ripples in families so when you do, don’t be surprised! You are unique and talented but the music industry is not in the business of ‘patting little baby bottoms’. If you want a job that’s safe and doesn’t ruffle any feathers, you’re in the wrong field. Personal sacrifice is part of the game.

6)    Illuminate.
When all is said and done, the music is released, and the snow ball effect is initiated then it’s truly your time to shine.  Most people just see the end result of the beauty of music and want it without all the hard work that comes with it. Well, we burst bubbles every day here at the Computer Music Production School and GotchaNoddin because we’ll be the first to tell ya, if you really want it, you’re going to have to work for it. The best things in life come with hard work. When the finished product is there and people are listening to it, vibing with it and inspired by it…everything mentioned above will be so small in comparison to the eternal rewards. Music soothes the soul. You’re here to inspire and light up the world with your gifts. So go and dig your own way through… and let your light shine.

Tutorial: How to be a Pioneer in the Music Industry:
1) If you haven’t already, designate a computer document or notebook for planning. Once a day/week set aside some time to think through some of the projects and goals you would like to achieve in music.
2) In each of the 6 steps, find one thing you can improve on and write it down. Set aside an hour a day/week and research books, articles or blogs that help this area in your life to be stronger.
3) This is not something that has to take a long time. Give yourself a month to create new habits. If you spend 1-3 hours a week, you’ll see significant improvement.

Doing music is a progressive journey. Be easy on yourself and remember, progress not perfection.
If you need additional help, contact us for a training consultation.

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(Adapted from A Practical Guide for Pioneer Parents  by Mary E. DeMuth)

5 Ways to Detect a Poser in the Music Business

Often times I get a call from someone who says. “Uh, is this GotchaNoddin? …Oh, I’m so and so and I’m in the music business. I was hoping we could help each other out…you know, I make hits!“

“Ok,” I say…and start to ask my routine questions. What do you do? What have you done?  How long have you been doing this? Sometimes people will actually cut me off with accolades of famous people they know and on and on they go with, “Oh, I made a hit with this person or that person and I got some industry connections!”

While I appreciate this, I am more interested in learning what projects and things are being worked on.
It doesn’t matter who you know… it matters what you are doing.

You are not who you know but what makes you successful is the results in your life, how you go about achieving results and how many people you’ve helped. What I see lacking in the industry is heart and hard core common sense. I don’t know where it started, but for years there has been this ‘not enough’ mentality that there isn’t enough business to go around and that only a ‘select few’ can live their dreams in the music business.  On the other spectrum, I get many folks calling with stars in their eyes thinking that success and fame can happen in a couple days. The reality is that I have to get through many hard layers of ego and self promotion until I can get to the center of a person’s character.

Now this is the exact same thing you have to do as you embark on the journey of your music dream. Don’t believe what people tell you. In the music business everyone talks. The only way to determine who to let in your circle is by actually witnessing the results in their life to back up what they’re telling you.

Don’t worry about asking too many questions. That will get rid of the posers. It will also start great conversational interest and connection with someone who is not a poser.  The biggest point to make here is YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO – if you respect everyone you talk to, you’ll never worry about meeting the right people – they will always return phone calls and keep appointments.

Sometimes, I tick people off with my questions and putting people on the spot. But like clock-work they always call back a few months later. And the call goes something like this:

“Hey man, you think you could help me out. I still haven’t had any luck since we last spoke. My studio isn’t working right and I haven’t been able to work on my beats. I been trying tutorials and other people just aren’t giving me answers that help me.”

“Sure” I reply. “What do you think the problem is?” As I probe deeper I find out that this person has little experience, little knowledge and doesn’t know how to ask for help. I sit back and say to myself “Wow, this is the same person who said in our first conversation he’s got connections, makes hits and we should help each other out.. It’s a good thing I ask my questions!”

I cringe thinking about what many people’s “hits” must sound like who love to run their mouth, show up late to the studio, never return phone calls and have no consistency. If a person’s life isn’t consistent how is their music and music business going to be consistent? I know I sound harsh in saying this but its important to discern who people really are that you would like in your circle. All the sweet talking players who think they can smooch their way through, it’s conversations of honesty and being real that true connection can happen. How can any of us help each other if we’re not up front and honest from the start?

Now that I have painted a picture for you, what do the paintings of people in your life look like? Are they playing hardcore game, talk but no walk, name dropping but the results in their life don’t add up? These people are toxic to your success and interfere with your needed encouragement while on the journey towards your dream.

Tutorial: 5 Ways to Detect a Poser in the Music Business:
1) Consistency:
When someone calls the person you’re trying to work with, do they say “ahh man, why they calling me!” or do they respectfully say, hold on I got to get this call. How do they treat other people, friends and family when you are around them? Don’t listen only to what someone says when you meet them, watch for consistency in their life with others and you’ll see right through them on how they will treat you in business and as friends. This process takes time. Also, everyone goes through phases in life. Sometimes you may meet someone in an inconsistent phase of their life. 6 months later they call you and are constantly calling you. This is a good sign. It’s not about judging but watching and always being open and attentive, being understanding and not burning bridges works wonders for connections too.

2) Reliability: Reliability is never seen on the first meeting. You can talk about a lot of plans and ideas. Some people live in ‘ideas’. However action is the only thing that counts. As with consistency, reliability is on a day-to-day basis. Set appointments, times to talk, meet or attend events. Watch for patterns of lateness, promptness, ‘unexpected issues reoccurring’, do they show up, do they call? Consistency and reliability go hand in hand. Relationships take time, effort and continual pursuit. If there isn’t a great common ground then the effort may not be worth the consistency and reliability of yourself or the other person for that matter. Also look to see if they are consistent in other areas of their lives. If someone hasn’t been consistent a few times, maybe its time to give them some space. If the relationship is important to you, call them back in a few months to touch base. It could be a season of inconsistency for them. There are many seasons of inconsistency in our lives. These can change at any moment. In the present situation, this lets you know that they are more of an acquaintance rather than a potential business partner. Never start business partnerships until you have tested and established that they are reliable.

3) Integrity: One of the definitions of integrity is honesty. The word honesty these days seems pretty lame…  However, the results of dishonesty are flat out appalling. Let’s paint a picture of how important honesty is. If you are building a house and you decide to use cheap cement to cut costs, decide to do poor quality job in building the foundation and don’t put forth a quality effort, that house will crumble from the inside onto itself. This is the same thing that happens when surrounding yourself with dishonest, shady, inconsistent, unreliable, game playas. All the time and effort you put into building your music foundation and career will be destroyed from within itself. What is the opposite of cheap, ego-centric, poor quality and laziness? Surround yourself with encouraging, passionate and motivated people who enjoy the learning and growing process with you. You’ll then have lifelong friends and potential business partners as you achieve your goals.

4) Value: What is the value of the person you are meeting? Are they a giver, a taker, a friend or mooch? Are they always broke asking for money, asking you to make beats or record them for free? Do they ask you to do something and then respect your time and give something back? Or are they asking you ‘to put them on’ and ‘give them their shot’ but when the time comes they have nothing to offer, are not prepared or just simply flake? Or do they come prepared, asking questions and on time? It is important to determine the giver, taker, friend or moocher as soon as possible. This can avoid much wasted time. Consistency, Reliability, Integrity and Value all integrate together to form the character and trustworthiness of the person you are considering doing business with, partnering with or working with creatively. Time never lies and will always reveal the truth of your relationships.

5) Results: The last and most obvious is the results in someone’s life. This is the easiest to detect. I hear from at least 10-20 or more people a week telling me about how they run a record label. Before I can determine if I can help them, I first ask: How many artists do you have, how long does it take to put out a record, how many units did your last release sell, do you do production, mixing and mastering in house or is it outsourced? Often, I get the response “Well, I don’t have a label yet but I’m in the process of starting it”. OK, now we can get somewhere!

What are the results in their life? What does their music sound like? Does what they tell you about their business and music match up with what you see currently or is it where they are heading? This is SO important! I have seen so many people miss opportunities because they misrepresented themselves. The change that must be made is not to tell people where you are going but to tell them where you are currently, what you need help with NOW FIRST. Then the doors of what you need and where you are going can be established.

These 5 ways to detect a poser in the Music Business are important to reference when you are seeking relationships and also to reference in your own life. This is only a small part of what it takes to not just talk but to live your dream. If you love music and have a passion to do it for the rest of your life than making some personal changes to avoid posers should be easy.

If you are in the middle of a business deal or networking and are not sure what to do, just shoot an email and include details of what’s going on for your training consultation.

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