New Rules For The Music Industry

By George Howard & Jeff Price
(follow George on Twitter)

FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY:

1) BE TRANSPARENT – No more hiding behind complex royalty calculations.  Man up. Be honest.  Provide clear and accurate accounting.  The digital world makes it easier than ever to do this.

This applies to labels, distributors, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and anyone else you can think of.  They can all be transparent if they choose to be.  Right now they choose not to be.

2) PAY ON TIME! – No more artificial royalty accounting periods.  Returns and co-ops are a thing of the past.  Pay out and account on one way no return sales that you have been paid in the same month you get them.

The only reason to hold on to the money is to make bank interest on it.  If this is what you are going to do, see #1, BE TRANSPARENT and tell artists you are doing this.

3) NO MORE SUGARCOATING AND HIDING REALITY – Seriously.  Stop promising things you know you can’t deliver.  Not everyone is going to be a star.  Be honest, tell the truth,.  Let the musician and artist know the realities of the market so they can have a better understand of what needs to be done to succeed or why things are not going the way they want them to.

4) ACKNOWLEDGE YOU WORK FOR THE ARTIST, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND – Without the artist none of us will have jobs.  They are the ones with the talent.  They create culture and write songs that have an impact on the world.  They are allowing us to serve them, not the other way around.  This philosophy and culture must permeate everything you do.  Turn this industry from one that “exploits” the artist to one that serves the artist.

5) ONLY OFFER SERVICES YOU CAN ACTUALLY DO – No more asking for rights or income from things you can’t contribute towards.  If you are a label and want more money from other areas (i.e. merchandise, songwriter income, gig income etc) you actually have to provide a service that does something to earn that right.  There are others out there that are specialists in these areas, can you do what they can?

6) UNDERSTAND THE ARTIST NOW HAS CHOICE – Unlike the old days, artists can now succeed without you.  Labels have gone from a “must have” to a “might need”.  Be clear in what you have to offer and create a fair and equitable deal in exchange for the services you are offering.

7) COMMERCIAL RADIO AND MTV NO LONGER SINGULARLY BREAK BANDS – It used to be that print, commercial radio and MTV were the three ways to break a band, no longer.  Fans themselves have this power via social networking.  Find ways to speak to fans directly and don’t use a middleman.  Empower and excite them and they will follow.

FOR THE ARTIST

1) STOP ASKING FOR BIG ADVANCES – Understand that the economics of the business have changed for both the artists and the labels.  The goal for artists and labels must be the same: create sustainable working relationships for both parties.  Disproportionate advances only add tension (economic and otherwise) to an already tense dynamic. Create financial working relationships based on realistic expectations of ROI.

2) EDUCATE YOURSELF – It’s no longer acceptable (or charming) to be the un-informed artist who doesn’t know the difference between a mechanical royalty and a mechanic.  You can’t claim that you’ve been taken advantage of by anyone at this point; the information you need is out there, and it’s not that hard to find.  Learn it, once you have this knowledge you can then make informed decisions and decide if the other entity is doing its job.  Not to mention, the labels etc already know this info and so should you.

3) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – Stating that there is any person or thing standing in the way of you and success is a cop out.  No longer can you say, “If only my records were in stores, people would buy them,” or, “If only people could hear my music they would love it.”  The gatekeepers have vanished; the gates are open…go through them.

4) TAKE ACTION – Waiting for a booking agent before you tour? Waiting for a producer before you make a recording? Waiting for a label before you distribute or promote your music?  Guess what, someone else isn’t waiting for anyone, and he or she is leaving you in the dust.  The worst thing you can do is nothing.

5) SELL – Get over the fact that you’re the artist, and asking people for money in exchange for your art is awkward.  The reality is that if your work is good, people will want to compensate you for it. You must not only give them the opportunity to do so, but make it easy for them.  Be clear and transparent, and tell your customers that your music is valuable, and that if they want to ensure that you are able to keep creating the music that they enjoy, that they must pay for it. Then give them a wide variety of things to buy at different prices.

6) GIVE WITHOUT ASKING FOR ANYTHING IN RETURN – It’s not all selling, of course, and we are all in this together.  Look for ways to help other artists. Share information, share resources.  This is not a zero-sum game; the overall pie can expand, and we will all benefit proportionately when it does.

7) DEMAND ANSWERS – if you don’t understand something, ask.  If the person you ask can’t give you a clear, understandable answer then he or she is either clueless or trying to hide something.   Demand a clear, understandable answer or walk away from the deal.

8)  MARKETING DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL SUCCESS – The major labels spent hundreds of millions of dollars marketing and promoting bands.  Only 2% of them succeeded, the other 98% were deemed failures.  If marketing = success, they would have had a 100% hit ratio.  The reason an artist succeeds is because the music caused reaction.

9) LEAD TIME FOR STREET DATES MATTER LESS – It’s not like the old days where you only had a limited time for prime real estate in a retail store and if the CDs did not sell they would be returned.  In the new model you can release music today, and market later, with little detrimental impact.

10) IT’S ABOUT A CONSTANT STREAM OF MUSIC AND MEDIA, NOT A ONCE A YEAR ALBUM RELEASE ­  – The new world moves fast.   The best strategy is to roll out songs, videos, pictures, blog postings, tweets and anything else you can think of on a constant basis.  This keeps your fans engaged and stops you from losing momentum and going stale.

11) IT’S GLOBAL – The new music industry is a global one.  At the click of a button your music is available to buy, share, stream and download around the world.  Keep this in mind when you think about where your money is being held, generated and how to get it.

12) YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS – Music is not food, shelter or clothing, but everyone likes it and needs it.  The music industry currently generates around $30 billion dollars a year.  The entities and people getting this money is shifting from the legacy companies to you.  Within another five years the collective power of you will be bigger than any of them.  You have the power to change things, and you already are.

As just one example, in the past two years, TuneCore Artists have earned over $170 million in gross music sales and have sold over 400 million songs by paid download or stream.  TuneCore Songwriters have earned over another $120 million dollars.

As you sell more, they sell less.

13) DEFINE YOUR GOALS – Know what it is you are tying to accomplish.  Are you looking to be the next Vanilla Ice or just sell some music without touring?  Is your goal corporate sponsorships or having others cover your songs?  Whatever it may be, have a goal in mind and then work towards accomplishing that objective.  With that one conquered, you can move on to the next.

DON’T EXPECT SOMETHING FOR NOTHING

It’s going to take work to make things happen.  Either you need to do the work or you must hire someone else to do part, or all of it, for you.  If you understand your rights, how money is made, and how much you should make, you can make educated decisions.

Got more rules?  Post them here!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

George Howard is the former president of Rykodisc. He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of Artists House Music and is a Professor and Executive in Residence in the college of Business Administration at Loyola, New Orleans. He is most easily found on Twitter at: twitter.com/gah650

  • Alex Jenkins

    I am a music composer and musician with five-hundred songs, and I have sent numerous EPK’s, many web pages, contacted numerous labels, and I have come to a dead end. What do I do?

    • Mazzonicodey

      Alex- Not to be an ass but they may just not want your music. Not everyone is going to make it in this business.

      • Bobsacks

        Mazz-That’s a pretty simplistic and shortsighted answer. 
        Anybody can make it in music, regardless of talent__fill in the blank__.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=34105074 Frank Serafine

          Nevertheless, a true answer. Anybody CAN, but not everyone DOES, which is just what Mazz said.

          • http://www.groovearthrecords.com Michellegalas

            Do not need to be signed in a record label if you can make your music, perform it and sell it yourself you can create a career to yourself, there are artists out there who are touring all over Asia, Europe and nobody has even heard about them, they like their freedom and can make a living. The most important is to be able to make money with your music. if you find the way to do it whatever (record deal, publisher, live performance, synchronisation ect..) this the key. find the strategy to make people love your music enough to buy it and come to see you in live.

        • Jaybe1333

          Good songs is the name of the game. Not everyone can write/produce them.

    • B-Phat Risey

      Get to know the people behind the labels personally… 😉 Build a friendship without slipping in “Oh by the way would u like to sign my song to your label” Use the friendship as a stepping stone to open other doors to other labels via your new friends contacts… 😀

    • http://www.facebook.com/Godfellow Cortez Godfellow Currie

      Create value, have those songs made a significant amount of sales. Can you track your sales and prove that. Create “Market Value” what makes you more valuable than your “major” competition, if it’s just having x number amount of songs and a EPK..then you have not built value

    • Assistant
    • Mvondrew

      my advice would be to go do it on your own get out there and explore different avenues shows live whatever isnt working try make it work with 500 songs and nothing been noticed try something different or a different approach,i wouldnt mind working with you and teach you what i’ve learnt so far is $ means alot but not the most i have 7 artists i am working with each get paid every week making great music making all kinds of people moving and yup they following now and is getting bigger n better for us all

    • LA

      Alex, I’m a professional songwriter and one thing I know is that you probably don’t have 500 songs that are professionally recorded. Without the proper communication of a song (songwriting, arrangement & production) nobody will “get” your songs.

    • Sorry to say but . . .

      Write better songs.

  • Anonymous

    Great post.

  • http://www.a-lyric.com/ Michael

    Another one: don’t try to pull a fast one – you will be found. I discovered a translated version of a track of mine on YouTube recently. After notifying my authors’ rights society, I did some snooping of my own and came across fans of the translated track that provided connections to the guilty label (and artist).

  • Alias2u2

    BS post. Accurate metrics from technology have never happened, been too expensive to produce, and most tech companies never paid their music royalty, but just went bankrupt. To continue totally blaming the music industry is just more prejudiced misinformation.

    • Anonymous

      @alias2u2

      forgive my lack of tact, but that’s bullshit.

      as one example, pls post on this blog the amount of money you are owed for a public performance via LastFM, Padora, a radio station etc
      What rate does ASCAP/BMI charge, what is the rate card?

  • http://www.iamRonnie.com Ronnie

    Great reminders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Godfellow Cortez Godfellow Currie

    Just read that “MARKETING DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL SUCCESS” (I do not agree, but I do agree if not marketed correctly at the right place, market, and time the “brand” will not be successful) and that “The reason an artist succeeds is because the music caused reaction” (because it was marketed to cause a reaction, an image was painted to the consumers, to relate to the brand) 

    • tom

      You can market to creat a star but most fizzle out, the rare exceptions are like Elvis who already had talent, than you just market to keep his name on people minds. Marketing dosen’t work for just any band, they have to have some self success and selling power or marketing just fails. For exsample i owned 5,000 albums at one time, and none we’re bought by seeing an ad, and few from being heard on the radio, art is art if its good i will buy it, the above lady gaga’s will never make it in my collection because they are fabricated artists that we’re marketed without any real talent. They won’t last either no Led Zepplin here.  
      They have some talent yes, but talent is what sells, than you market it hoping to sell more. most things shoved in your face at the store you won’t buy, why it’s being shoved in your face, you have to want it before its shoved in your face and once it is you’ll lose interest in it, that’s why marketing fails most times. 
      There’s another major side to marketing you need a million copies and might sell 50,000 music sales are way down with internet now, even the Bob Dylans of the world barely sell 300,000 copies, so you market for a million and have 700,000 cd’s sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Thats why it dosen’t work often. Very few bands ever recover all there costs. the rest are loses from the get go, the 98 percent fail is much nearer the truth. The 2 percent covers allot of the 98 though so you do sometimes make a killing on it.   
      Now bands who have had success, yes you market them you have a greater shot at recovering your investment than on nobodies, its a chance thing music always has been. Kinda like going to the horse track and betting on the 5 horse you have a 1-12 chance of winning with 12 horses out there, That’s how music is. Sometimes a longshot comes in most times it dosent.

      • Versus

        ” art is art if its good i will buy it, the above lady gaga’s will never make it in my collection because they are fabricated artists that we’re marketed without any real talent.”

        Thank you.

        – Versus

        • Anonymous

          @versus

          so now we are back to gatekeepers? Who gets to decide what is “good”? You?

          I suggest we let people make their own decisions. Technology allows that.

          jeff

  • http://www.facebook.com/Godfellow Cortez Godfellow Currie

     you have to have Promotions & Marketing Budgets thats what makes stars…along with everything else in the package, the look, the sound, the quality, the connection with fans, ect  MC HAMMER, JAY Z, & BLACK EYED PEAS (50-74 Million + records sold) Numbers do not lie, 300 Million + (The Beatles,Elvis Presley,Michael Jackson) 200 Million + (Elton John,Mariah Carey,Celine Dion) 150 Million + (Whitney Houston,U2,Aerosmith) 120 Million+ (Barbra Streisand,David Bowie,Backstreet Boys) I may not be a fan but I am familiar with every single artist on this list…why? they where Marketed greatly to the masses and the music, look, ect connected

    • P.U. Nation

      Well said family well said.
      Tareek “Rekko Nirvana” Salam

    • Versus

      300 millions fans can still be wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/bettyblastoff Alexandra Angelich

      Other than Black Eyed Peas (Elephunk came out 8 years ago, though the band formed 16 years ago) I do not see one band in this list that came out in the last 10 years.  As this article is entitled “New Rules for the Music Industry” I really don’t see how this comment is at all relevant.

    • Cbaxter197

      Cortez I am not sure about MC Hammer and the Black eyed peas, but Jay-Z told me himself how he made it and it had nothing to do with marketing and promotions.  He and his boys sold CDs out of the back of cars, booked their own shows (no promoter) and worked the streets until he got on. The marketing that you see today came long after he had acquired some modicum of fame.

  • Dolow

    http://www.Dolow.TV  I like the rules to the game of music

  • Willievega

    The old label dogs must be steaming over their humble pie.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LIE3CFTBSNNP46O7QQXNZMIF2A Get Lost

    old, very old. cheers for pointing out the bleeding obvious lol

  • Rmloftus

    tunecore.com must not first put money on the artist account and then steal it in full ……this is called theft…. rosemarie h loftus moreilhon……
    furthermore to do a big promotion for artists and then let them down ..is called why????????
    you are worst than the government … they should be there for the people.. and not the other way around….
    all due respect…… i wonder whose elses money was grabbed  ..since you can easily get to it…
    you will never again handle my accounts….. not even for 10 cents….. imagine the miilions that other people brought in…..how much did you take….you are the first to top it off…….amen.

  • Steve

    Just because some of these axioms have been around awhile does not make them any less relevant. Should we toss out the 10 Commandments as well…they have been around for centuries and millions still suffer from ignoring them. I run into a full spectrum of entertainment “professionals” thatstill don’t get it! Labels that don’t want to be accountable, service providers that over promise and under deliver and artists that think because they are talented , have great music and spend $50,000 they should be “stars” or at least going gold. So we could all use this little review and reality check in todays difficult and rapidly changing entertainment market. http://www.omnientertainmentinc.com

    • Anonymous

      The 10 commandments lol (facepalm)

    • Anonymous

      Yes they should of been thrown out a long time ago! along with the rest of that stupid book (The Bible), you religious nazi’s believe in!

  • Ken McAllister

    Being transparent, and being honest is huge… these organizations and corporations have been operating business as usual for ages now. The good old boy crony way of accounting doesn’t hack it anymore it’s not 1950,  and this isn’t a malt shop-jukebox royalty shakedown. Another rule.— These entities shouldn’t be taking the CREATIVE Highground – Being transparent means owning up to the fact that you profit from the  ART OF OTHER PEOPLE, don’t pretend that it’s all about the music when the real concern is the bottom-line $ 

  • JayDaVille

    Im 18 And A Artist..I Love Music…But I Dont Know Where To Start Networking..I Have Talent And I Have The Drive And I Love To Improve..That I Am Positive About..I Just Dont Know What To Do…Im Giving My All To Music Because I Know If You Dont Then The Industry Will Not Give Its All Back…I Dont Need Someone To Open The Door For Me Because I Have To Earn It…But If Someone Could Give Me A Crack Or Something I Will Squeeze Through It And Greatly Appreciate It..

  • JayDaVille

    Im 18 And A Artist..I Love Music…But I Dont Know Where To Start Networking..I Have Talent And I Have The Drive And I Love To Improve..That I Am Positive About..I Just Dont Know What To Do…Im Giving My All To Music Because I Know If You Dont Then The Industry Will Not Give Its All Back…I Dont Need Someone To Open The Door For Me Because I Have To Earn It…But If Someone Could Give Me A Crack Or Something I Will Squeeze Through It And Greatly Appreciate It..

  • JayDaVille

    Im 18 And A Artist..I Love Music…But I Dont Know Where To Start Networking..I Have Talent And I Have The Drive And I Love To Improve..That I Am Positive About..I Just Dont Know What To Do…Im Giving My All To Music Because I Know If You Dont Then The Industry Will Not Give Its All Back…I Dont Need Someone To Open The Door For Me Because I Have To Earn It…But If Someone Could Give Me A Crack Or Something I Will Squeeze Through It And Greatly Appreciate It..

  • http://twitter.com/indieislands Indie Islands

    I nominate this as Indie Article of the Year! 

    I’d add – one more rule for artists: 

    “Ask not what your fans can do for you, but rather … YOU can do for your fans!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jazzydave Dave Owens

    Was my previous comment removed or did it just not go through?

  • http://www.groovearthrecords.com Michelle Galas

    To all Artists, be CREATIVE, work your music, your image, your voice, your live performance, be creative, create a concept to be memorable, impact your public by your video, songs, ways you behave, mark your time. Work your Character and be real. Your Character must be YOU. Think about your musical and artistic concept. Music + Creativity+ Good songs (who talk to peopl with emotion) + Personality= Success =money maching.
    Do not forget music is there to make people forget their problem (entertain) or wake up them and impact them (model). Be not in the mass, think out of the Box. Be CREATIVE.
    Michelle Galas
    http://www.groovearthrecords.com
    http://www.groovmusicmarketing.wordpress.com
    Map Your Music Career Strategically and Creativily.

  • Anonymous

    the music business is a front at this point, its payola and downgrades. Spotify is glorified by BMI no doubt they get to collect all the royalties and will pay most likely 20 “publishers” if that, of the hundreds of thousands on Spotify because the prorated fee is so low, unless your streaming like a current heavy rotation player there is not enough to collect per artist-thus BMI won’t pay anyone but themselves-which is why Spotify is a great service to them. Same thing with Jango. MTV/Fuse don’t bother. Please the ONLY logical reason most havent made it and there is no BOOM in trends or America is because the competition would ruin the five to twenty on the lists getting cycled.
    I’m sorry I can go to http://www.gbh.tv and watch cool video after video and none of it touches MTV or Fuse and thats because people won’t watch whats on their tv? And who knew Oprah isnt the greatest according to what was presented she is or was number one-until she got bumped to cable and her ratings plummeted- they are down from 45 to 73 in a few short months, why?
     Because she ain’t on a heavy cycle in front of peoples faces, and there are other reasons but lets not discuss this. When I read the blurb above on how only some music sells which is just 2% I though really, well when the music business had its most lucrative time it was in the 1980’s and so much diversity and selection was presented it boomed into a high growth industry. Are you serious? That was when commercial radio wasn’t sold out as it is now after anti-trust laws were altered by Bill Clinton. Its almost as if the times have changed-not true, but the way its controlled has. People still make art and music and its still a product….but it has been cheapened and ruined by greed.
     And if people had all the new music presented to them-the heavy collectors known for abusing infringements, would be a bit lackluster and worn-competition would wear them down and push them out. The music business didnt crumble-everyone was removed, politely.

  • Z Zzzzzz

    what i gleen from this is: the artist is now the label….labels don’t matter, your banker / backer and self promotion does. Really, when was the last time you were in a “record store” ? it’s all downloadable, smart phone able and talked about and sold via direct interest by text and mobile video. who needs an agent or tour for that? play free concerts, allow bootlegs, give it away and touch the world!
    The big labels can R.I.P.

    • http://www.groovearthrecords.com Michellegalas

      An artist need a team to work with him or her, the artist can not do all alone, when you will become famous the only thing you must be in control is your revenue but regarding the promotion ect.. you need people to help you. Make the music industry run after you and then they will come to propose you a deal because they know you can sell  and have a fanbase. So you in this case have the power to put your conditions on the table. Find a small label which will give you full control of your music and creative and help you only to promote it.

    • Larry Smiley-El

      You must have never produced one record in your life. You do not have to be in it for the money to expect people to pay for something that cost you so much to produce. When everything is said and done, electricity is not free. You need that to record. You need it to charge you mobile phone to call artists and producers and anyone else. The answer is there must be a balance and until its found someone is going to complain about the wrongs they are hit with, and rightfully so. Here’s an idea: go find an artist, bankroll their record, spend the time, energy and money to brand the artist and the record, then go yourself and “give it away and touch the world!” 

  • Anon

    Seriously… there is a global economic implosion of the paper ponzi currency systems that are based on fractionally banking on reserves that are based on IOU’s that are based on paper promises to pay (more IOU’s) that are based on NOTHING. What a surprise. Good luck making it big during the coming times. The world is going through major changes, and more than ever needs good honest music that is up to date with the times. The only way to make it in the pop music scene that is propped up is to be a sell out Satanic worshipping symbol flashing masonic nob. Apart from that if you actually want to make real music not engineered sound, you’ll have to face being poor, and playing to a few people in your community and online. When the world get’s it’s act together, and has sound money and zero’s and liquidates the fraud the elite rich are perpetrating on everyone else, THEN we’ll have a chance to have big acts, and music will again become a centric part of human society – un-manipulated by political and psy-op agendas – it’s rightful place, like a camp fire for humanity, keeping us warm, and lighting up the dark.

    • http://www.groovearthrecords.com Michellegalas

      are you on facebook Anon ? Will be interested to keep on this conversation with you via facebook ..

      • Anon

        Sure just friended you (I think).

        • http://www.groovearthrecords.com Michellegalas

          I do not think you did it, what is your name on facebook ??

    • Elmore

      Man, that is the single clearest, most concise and accurate analysis I have read in all the years of receiving these tunecore emails…well done and thank you.

    • Trister Keane

      So. . . yer saying the problem with music today is that we’re off the gold standard?

    • TheDimeStoreNovelist

      No, the problem is not in the economy. Being poor is a situation that can be overcome. If you need money, go get it. It’s still out there. If you want to start a buzz, go start one. Play in front of everybody. If you want anything, go get it. Nothing is REALLY stopping you. Many artists are scared, to take the leap. To drop out of college, then pursue music full-time with no guarantee or diploma at the end of the road when everyone is telling them the economy is failing. That just means things are a little bit more competitive. So let’s compete. Artists are now emerging that have really worked for their success, and I think its great. There will always be “Pop” stars and such.

      -Charles Rangel
      TheDimeStoreNovelist.com 

      • Jone

        It’s always been go get it— however most successful talent has had a Big helping force behind their careers-  think about it — Justin Beaver, Hanna Montana, Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga,  —  this people were Great without the help of majors but without them they still would have been on the “GO GET IT” buddy – Get it?  The reality is everyone artists want the limelight; Good luck

        • Versus

          “Justin Beaver, Hanna Montana, Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga,  —  this people were Great without the help of majors”

          You lost me there. These examples are hardly “great” in any artistic sense, with or without promotion.

          – V

          • SpaceMonk

            I have to agree…they may have been great at marketing themselves, but musically….well, that’ a whole ‘nother post.

    • Larry Smiley-El

      Freemasons are not satanic. I still find it curious that people who enjoy media can be so easily influenced by a video that did not prove not one of its accusations. If, for example, the sign was the “Baphomet” sign, why didn’t the author make a case against the student body and faculty of the University of Texas at Austin? Or the Bloods gangs. Are there masons in high places in the entertainment industry? Yes, there are. But what about every other industry? You cannot name an industry that does not have masons and their female counterparts among their ranks from the bottom to the top positions. From the US Congress down to the churches and masques and everything in between you will find masons. No one has proved that the masons as a fraternal body has done harm to anyone, but the evidence that the masons have done the planet great deeds of charity as well as profit is evident all over the world. So stop using what that man claimed in that video as a cop out. Please stop.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517659681 Paul Law

      AWESOME!  I love it!  How/where can I read more, or is your insight just isolated to this particular topic?

    • Joeldon54

      Dum!

    • Anon Jr.

      Dammit mom! Stop posting on here and paraphrasing Ron Paul literature as a way to fake like you understand economics! FUCK! YOU’RE SO EMBARRASSING MOM! STOP RUINING MY LIFE!

    • Imagine_everyone

      How refreshing! The last thing I expected to read here as a first comment was something that reflected the deeper reality of a system which has consistently robbed people of having a better and fairer world. True artistry does not prejudice itself towards winners or losers in the current economic reality – more often than not it is a reaction to it. The creative mind, which plays in the multitude of landscapes sculpted in the right hemisphere of the brain, has been perpetually enslaved for millennia by a system favouring left hemisphere tendencies – to categorise, control, and consolidate its own hegemonic power.
      As much as the “rules” presented may reflect an honest well meaning approach to the music industry, it fails to recognise the time we live in – where the authority and credibility of the system we are in is collapsing. By attempting to perpetuate (and inevitably enforce?) the paradigm this new rule book, rightly or wrongly is only going to inflame the rebellion in the most indigenous of artists – can you see Rage Against the Machine changing their tune to reflect these values? – It’s like asking Banksy to paint in authorised & designated Graffiti areas…. Ultimately that’s not what art is about, whether the existing system likes it or not.

      Maybe the system needs to change to incorporate the needs of the artist, rather than the other way round.

  • Anonymous

    I like this post, I personally believe that marketing is key.

    You should also add that we should not be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources and it doesn’t hurt to ask for help.

  • RobertKoyich

    I’m glad to read this and note one main thing I took from it is to have the intent or plan of what one’s trying to do (as an artist).  At this point I’m trying to get my music out there and have been handing out lots of freebies.  The intents I have for my company are metrics like downloads/plays.  The other fact is that if I am to succeed as a company (www.KoyichDigital.com) I too must earn the money to fuel the projects.  I’ve sold less than $60 of ‘product’ and find I want to push the music out for free.  Is this a viable idea?  The point in this TuneCore post is that we (as artists) should not be ‘awkward’ in receiving money.  I think this is where online sales might be the best bet for people as there’s a faceless transaction.  Maybe it’s just in the local garden I should be tilling free seeds.  Yes?  No?

    Glad to be thriving….
    Robert

    • Trister Keane

      Thriving is good. Yes, give away downloads! The problem for most artists is obscurity – the more people who hear your music the better, if people like the music enough there will be plenty of  chances to make money.
      Jonathan Coulton made half a million dollars last year.
      OTOH, if people don’t like your music, no amount of name recognition is going to help. The Arnold Schoenberg estate did not make a half a million dollars last year.

  • Guest

    still waiting on a check from BMI. 3 years. They keep sending it they say. amazingly it nevfer appears

  • Alfred Earl

    To start with it all a song has to be good. Now some real good songs are not wanted why because there
    are many people wanting big money for this or that. I have a song which was pitching and still doing so
    for the last 20 years. This song has a very strong message to the world at this moment  against corruption
    and still stuck with the song. Major or inde labels should have a leverage in accepting demos in this way
    some real good songs will be found and not play favourites with the old ones. Please listen to my song
    “Don’t Suffer The Loss Of Your Soul” and then let me know what you think of a wait 20 years. GOD BLESS.   acolinearl@gmail.com

  • Xxxopher

    This is a good post, but I see a lot of people who identify themselves as indie musicians seem to have a hard time really understanding why they may or may not be succeeding. For people who like indie music, one of the things they LIKE about it is the fact that it isn’t sponsored by one of the “four horsemen” so it’s not required to conform to those typical mainstream/pop standards. Indie music is unique. However, even in the indie scene, you’ve either got it or you don’t. If you want to “make it” as a musician you have to define what your goal is. To reach your goal there are some things that you just HAVE to have or you’re going to stay local. For starters, you have top have a big mindset. In other words, when you’re used to diversity, you’re used to people taking shots at you, when you learn to laugh things off or fire back in a well humored way, people will naturally see you as strong and pleasant to be around. You have to have a cool head and be confident, and indie musicians who have had this have ended up making some really successful career moves. Look at Regina Spektor and Imogen Heap. They have not sold out but put the time in and got their songs played in major motion pictures and have appeared on major television shows. Some people would say that that IS selling out, but then turn right around and complain because they haven’t been able to do the same. Character and personality plays a BIG role in your ability to get fans and be liked. Another key to independent success is your ability to relate to people. People will say an artist sells out when they’re played on mainstream radio even if they’re an indie artist, but this is a catch 22. You either want to be noticed or you don’t. If you’re not singing about something I can relate to, I’m not going to pay much attention to you. That’s just they way it is. Even if you’re singing about something that doesn’t get”talked about” much, people should still understand it. So, I write music about anything I want but then put at least one or two songs on every album that I think can put me on the radar. Once people hear my shallow mainstream stuff, they will have more opportunities to hear my other stuff. One final key that I’ve learned to being successful, BE UNIQUE. This is one of the most important aspects that I have found appeals to fans of indie music. They love the fact that their favorite artists write unique music and have unique personalities. In other words, they don’t TRY to look and sound like another artist, they just be their self. Also, creativity in writing is key as well. I have a song called The Elevator Game that I’m going to be releasing in about a month. Basically it’s about riding up and down in an elevator and getting freaky with your girl or guy for as long as you can until you “finish” or get caught. It catches people’s attention because it’s something people can all relate to, but I’m writing about relationship stuff from a unique perspective. MY perspective. It’s the same thing we all know and like to hear about, but from a fresh perspective.

    Just some of the things I’ve learned about throughout the last 30 years. Now, after countless trials, demos,  and experiments, I’m getting ready to release my first REAL record with a couple friends, one of whom used to be in a band on Columbia Records. We’re really excited. If you get a chance check me out at http://www.xxxopher.com Thanx, hope this touches someone :-)

  • http://www.oscarmusic.co.za Oscarehr

    Thanks Tune Core for sound advice and how right you are re we have to do our own thing. Surely gone are the days you have to try and lick someone to please put your cd products [for which productions you spend thousands and thousands of $] on their shelves and then give you nothing for it.

    I would however like some of you, to give me feedback on my new website [www.oscarmusic.co.za] re user friendliness or suggestions how I can get more exposure op the BIG RIVER our there of www. I guess I am in too shallow water at present. No or hardly any fish there !! Yet the bait is good/excellent and tasty and surely needed by many to improve their own lifes.

    Any suggestions please?

    Keep up the good work.
    regards
    Oscar Music
    oscarehr@iafrica.com

  • 51shortfalls

    Look I have to say the motto of 51 Shortfalls “do it cause you love it and go big or go home ked.” Thats the only way our starving asses made a record. I have to say too that when being indie and doing it yourselfe having a pizza fund is a must as well as collecting a recording fund, knowing you may never see the money for your mom’s birthday gift ever again is also a must. You get what you put in, cliche but true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tizianodemaria Tiziano Demària

    Some my thoughts:

    “4) TAKE ACTION – Waiting for a booking agent before you tour? Waiting for a producer before you make a recording? Waiting for a label before you distribute or promote your music?  Guess what, someone else isn’t waiting for anyone, and he or she is leaving you in the dust.  The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

    really? Do we are Rockfeller ? (or, nowaday: Berlusconi ?) Where do you think is possible to get money without aksing for them? In order to cerate a Tour? Perhaps in US certain things are working out fine. Not at all in EU!

    “5) SELL – Get over the fact that you’re the artist, and asking people for money in exchange for your art is awkward.  The reality is that if your work is good, people will want to compensate you for it. You must not only give them the opportunity to do so, but make it easy for them.  Be clear and transparent, and tell your customers that your music is valuable, and that if they want to ensure that you are able to keep creating the music that they enjoy, that they must pay for it. Then give them a wide variety of things to buy at different prices.”

    Wait: how many times you rpopose and they do’nt pay at all even if it was excellent ? All the excuses are valid! As” we finished the money”, “the budget is suddendly changed” etc.Is it due crisis? NOT AT ALL! Those kind of facts are  on the world since 25-30 years at least in EU. 

    And the last:

    “DON’T EXPECT SOMETHING FOR NOTHING”

    That’s the minimum :)

  • Charlemagne

    Thanks for keeping us updated!

  • Terribletim
  • http://twitter.com/TranceTweets007 Buck Mayden

    LET YOUR FANS CONTRIBUTE

    With the rise of social networks and globalization your fans can now show their appreciation in many productive ways without costing them or you a dime. Sure, your fans might not be music artist but they all have some kind of talent that they would gladly use if it meant that  you got closer to economic sustainability through your music. Just make sure you give credit where it’s due and consult rule 14 when necessary. 

  • http://twitter.com/TranceTweets007 Buck Mayden

    LET YOUR FANS CONTRIBUTE

    With the rise of social networks and globalization your fans can now show their appreciation in many productive ways without costing them or you a dime. Sure, your fans might not be music artist but they all have some kind of talent that they would gladly use if it meant that  you got closer to economic sustainability through your music. Just make sure you give credit where it’s due and consult rule 14 when necessary. 

  • http://twitter.com/TranceTweets007 Buck Mayden

    LET YOUR FANS CONTRIBUTE

    With the rise of social networks and globalization your fans can now show their appreciation in many productive ways without costing them or you a dime. Sure, your fans might not be music artist but they all have some kind of talent that they would gladly use if it meant that  you got closer to economic sustainability through your music. Just make sure you give credit where it’s due and consult rule 14 when necessary. 

    • Anonymous

      @buck

      this is a good one. I wish I included it in the list!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jazzydave Dave Owens

      I agree with this…and have responded with this statement here on TuneCore many times – Without them, there is no ME. My current album was completely listener supported (and funded). I did a Kickstarter campaign and raised the monetary funds that would have otherwise had to have come from an investor (i.e. record label, etc). Now, my “investors” are my musical family (I hate the word “fan”) and they’re all very proud of that…which in turn motivates them to share the music even more. “I helped him make this album, check it out!” I even listed several of them in the credits. Again, all of the above has to work together like a machine…marketing, promotion, social networking, street networking (social networking IS NOT enough)…but NOTHING is more important than the best music you can possibly make and people who are excited to listen and share it.

  • Lukman Adebayo Oluokun

    As a Tunecore artist ,of some peculiar African songs,most fans have little or no acess to internet,is this a plus or minus with regards to spread ,sales, and marketing of my music ?

  • Lukman Adebayo Oluokun

    As a Tunecore artist ,of some peculiar African songs,most fans have little or no acess to internet,is this a plus or minus with regards to spread ,sales, and marketing of my music ?

  • Lukman Adebayo Oluokun

    As a Tunecore artist ,of some peculiar African songs,most fans have little or no acess to internet,is this a plus or minus with regards to spread ,sales, and marketing of my music ?

  • http://twitter.com/devonnlewis devonnlewis

    DeVonn.  I feel we all as artist need to follow our hearts and understand your capabilities as an individual, before you get into the business. There’s a lot of famous artist at different levels in their career. I think knowing that everything takes money to drive something, whether it be keeping your cell phones on to communicate, internet access, traveling and so on. That old saying, having something to fall back on holds true, be versatile in your thinking and your decisions. Most of all, have faith in yourself. Nothings Impossible! Check out my website @ http://www.devonnmusic.com.

  • Jaybe1333

    I like your article, I think it covers most aspects of the “new deal”  but you’re forgetting the Producers, who most artists need in order to materialize their creation and in many cases share authorship with them.
    Right now, a Producer take the hardest job of a production, laying the tracks, who in most cases plays himself, arrange the tunes, record them, mix them, master them and in some cases even design the cover and insets.  Then, if the product doesn’t sell, the Producer has worked hundreds of hours for nothing.
    In the case that there’s some success, the Artist is the sole recipient of the benefits, because the production  is enhancing his career, makes him or her popular, doing personal presentations,  while the Producer watches, without having a share from the money earned.  Is this fair?
    We can’t forget that in the old system, the recorded music sales were different and bigger and they were substantial sells, even if the song wasn’t a big radio hit, but now, or the sales are hughe or not sales at all.
    I have my opinion but I’d like yours.

  • Ben Thompkins

    I disagree with the  LEAD TIME FOR STREET DATES MATTER LESS. Artists that I put up through my label always do better when they have a lead time to promote, organize, and most importantly, to create hype. A lot of the business including sales, is about hype. In general, the more time you have to hype the project, the better the sales are. 

  • Ben Thompkins

    If you want to help sell your music you should:

    1) Have good music that people like
    2) Promote on social networks
    3) Tour
    4) Put video content up on youtube
    5) Have a PR campaign that helps get you reviews in magazines and online blogs
    6) Participate in contests with local radio stations
    7) Go after sponsorships with gear companies and other. More important than the product you receive is the exposure they give you on their site
    8) Have live interviews or practices on ustream or any of those video blogs
    9) Always create something new to engage your fans
    10) Always have something “in the works” as far as music goes. Don’t lose site of your current album and campaign, but keep people on their toes by talking about what your creating for the future. Maybe, release a single 
    11) Create a remix so that DJs can play your music in clubs
    12) Collaborate with other artists and work with them to do shows in their area

  • Alansdavid

    so what can I do about a pile of royalties never paid to me in the 1980s by a major? Anything?

    • Alansd

      Ok to elaborate a bit- I was in a band that sold a million and a half units in the mid 80’s. We were so screwed by our label we collected almost nothing in royalties. We were told to audit them. How? The expense for that was beyond what we could pay. So were stuck with the bills and they got all the gravy. There is a lot more to the story but suffice to say screw the major labels they stood for nothing to do with the music other than scooping as much bottom line as they could…or still can.

      • Anonymous

        @alansd

        what was the band?

        jeff

  • http://www.vimeo.com/user6329478 Antoni Degutis

    Thanks George and Jeff, this is great piece, well written and very informative. “Define Your Goals” is my favorite part. The reason being, that even though I’m 53, I don’t really know what I want as an artist. Back in the 70s and 80s I worked with variety of blues, rock, and metal bands as a guitar player. I got famous, toured internationally, recorded albums, played stadiums and sport arenas, done live radio and TV interviews. As they say, been there, done that. But something was always missing. Since I never was a drinker, and never done any drugs, there was always a distance between me and industry people. Important deals and decisions were usually made during the parties, but since after a drink or two I was always splitting, I wasn’t in the loop. I just wanted to play music and write songs. After awhile even touring wasn’t fun anymore. Same songs played twice a day for extended period of time make you puke, especially if you haven’t written them. Being in a band brings stress and fights, it’s not avoidable. Especially if one is ambitious, and I was very ambitious, too ambitious for some. All my past experiences led me to a conclusion, that in order to be happy and satisfied as an artist, I would have to be THE BOSS, meaning, the writer, the performer, the manager, the promoter, the art designer, the video director and editor, the PR agent, you name it. In the past I wanted to be involved in all that, but of course it wasn’t possible. There were always people who were telling me what to do, how to play, how to write, how to move or not to move on stage, or even how to dress. I was sick and tired of this. So the usual scenario was that either I was leaving the band, or I was kicked out. Now I can be THE BOSS. In “New Rules For The Music Industry” George and Jeff explain how nowadays everyone can become THE BOSS and shape his/her artistic future. As for me, for the time being I take it very easy. I’m content with writing my own music, and uploading it on the net.
    Cheers to everyone!         

  • http://www.vimeo.com/user6329478 Antoni Degutis

    Thanks George and Jeff, this is great piece, well written and very informative. “Define Your Goals” is my favorite part. The reason being, that even though I’m 53, I don’t really know what I want as an artist. Back in the 70s and 80s I worked with variety of blues, rock, and metal bands as a guitar player. I got famous, toured internationally, recorded albums, played stadiums and sport arenas, done live radio and TV interviews. As they say, been there, done that. But something was always missing. Since I never was a drinker, and never done any drugs, there was always a distance between me and industry people. Important deals and decisions were usually made during the parties, but since after a drink or two I was always splitting, I wasn’t in the loop. I just wanted to play music and write songs. After awhile even touring wasn’t fun anymore. Same songs played twice a day for extended period of time make you puke, especially if you haven’t written them. Being in a band brings stress and fights, it’s not avoidable. Especially if one is ambitious, and I was very ambitious, too ambitious for some. All my past experiences led me to a conclusion, that in order to be happy and satisfied as an artist, I would have to be THE BOSS, meaning, the writer, the performer, the manager, the promoter, the art designer, the video director and editor, the PR agent, you name it. In the past I wanted to be involved in all that, but of course it wasn’t possible. There were always people who were telling me what to do, how to play, how to write, how to move or not to move on stage, or even how to dress. I was sick and tired of this. So the usual scenario was that either I was leaving the band, or I was kicked out. Now I can be THE BOSS. In “New Rules For The Music Industry” George and Jeff explain how nowadays everyone can become THE BOSS and shape his/her artistic future. As for me, for the time being I take it very easy. I’m content with writing my own music, and uploading it on the net.
    Cheers to everyone!         

  • http://www.vimeo.com/user6329478 Antoni Degutis

    Thanks George and Jeff, this is great piece, well written and very informative. “Define Your Goals” is my favorite part. The reason being, that even though I’m 53, I don’t really know what I want as an artist. Back in the 70s and 80s I worked with variety of blues, rock, and metal bands as a guitar player. I got famous, toured internationally, recorded albums, played stadiums and sport arenas, done live radio and TV interviews. As they say, been there, done that. But something was always missing. Since I never was a drinker, and never done any drugs, there was always a distance between me and industry people. Important deals and decisions were usually made during the parties, but since after a drink or two I was always splitting, I wasn’t in the loop. I just wanted to play music and write songs. After awhile even touring wasn’t fun anymore. Same songs played twice a day for extended period of time make you puke, especially if you haven’t written them. Being in a band brings stress and fights, it’s not avoidable. Especially if one is ambitious, and I was very ambitious, too ambitious for some. All my past experiences led me to a conclusion, that in order to be happy and satisfied as an artist, I would have to be THE BOSS, meaning, the writer, the performer, the manager, the promoter, the art designer, the video director and editor, the PR agent, you name it. In the past I wanted to be involved in all that, but of course it wasn’t possible. There were always people who were telling me what to do, how to play, how to write, how to move or not to move on stage, or even how to dress. I was sick and tired of this. So the usual scenario was that either I was leaving the band, or I was kicked out. Now I can be THE BOSS. In “New Rules For The Music Industry” George and Jeff explain how nowadays everyone can become THE BOSS and shape his/her artistic future. As for me, for the time being I take it very easy. I’m content with writing my own music, and uploading it on the net.
    Cheers to everyone!         

  • chuck roseboom

    I still say an information exchange thru a convention would be of great help to all,,ie: where are the independent radio stations that are friendly to independent labels can be found ,,where are the smaller venues can be found for new bands that dont cost an arm and a leg to produce like I can say what those are here in florida and someone in another part of the country could tell me whats in thier area,,and so and so forth…..
                                                                                                         Chuck Roseboom
                                                                                                Ledgendary Rose Records

  • http://mrdarmusic.com Mr. Dar

    Music is universal. There’s always something out there for everyone. As an artist, the only way to be heard is to be proactive in putting your music out there for everyone to hear. We all can’t be stars, but what we can be is heard. If you believe in your music, you should put forth every effort to make it work, and the only way to do that is to stay on the grind. An artist that I know who was signed to a small indie label blamed the label for him not selling and becoming a star, but other than releasing his music through the label, he did not put forth any effort to promote himself beyond the initial release- other than what the label did for him.  As a matter of fact he didn’t even tour or do local shows to promote the album because he didn’t want to put any extra time into making it happen and just expected money to come pouring in because of who he thought he was (star).

    I’m not trying to slam that artist, who shall be nameless, but the point I’m trying to make is that you have to put a lot of energy into building a brand, have a plan, and do even the little things to promote yourself, and if you don’t then you’re wasting your time, and will always be behind the pack-wondering “if you could’ve,  would’ve,  should’ve.

    Sometimes going above and beyond your normal work ethic can bring good fortune to you and what you are trying to accomplish.

    Don’t expect it to happen. Make it Happen!

    Mr.Dar
    mrdarmusic.com

    Vod Recordings

  • Anonymous

    Very well put with a lot of things to take into consideration.

  • http://twitter.com/clefbits clefbits

    Awesome article! Congratulations, George!

  • http://twitter.com/clefbits clefbits

    Awesome article! Congratulations George!

  • http://www.facebook.com/zim.productions Jonathan Zimmerman

    great info

  • http://www.facebook.com/zim.productions Jonathan Zimmerman

    great info

  • Claude

    Hi George

    most of your comments make total sense. What you do not mention are the following problems that I and many fellow musicians are facing:
    1-Illegal downloads.
    It is and remains a devastating phenomenon, and a large part of the “consumers” do not seem to care, understand or give a damn about it. Whatever style you’re in, about every CD you produce is sooner or later going to be uploaded to a filesharing site by some idiot and downloaded by an army of vulture idots afterwards. Many of my friends suffer from it in an extreme way, and I’ve found my own productions on filesharing sites with a download counter of tens of thousands, while my official sales including itunes etc barely reach the 1000. When I think that my production costs neared the $10.000, it makes me sick.
    And one is totally powerless against it. Insult is added to injury when you see that some of these sites actually ask MONEY for some kind of membership and “support”.
    People seem to think it is some kind of civil  or subversive anticorporate activity to make and offer illegal downloads. They need to be educated that they are ruining existences, not playing Robin Hood against some “evil big business”.
    2- labels, and what the do NOT deliver
    when looking for a label on my last release, it was a rather depressing experience. 90% don’t answer calls or mails, not even with a simple ” no thanks”. The other 10 % want you to pay for your entire production, refuse to invest a cent or pay for ANY promotional work, but want 33% of your sales- They justify this with their distribution network, which supposedly cost them a fortune to build up. Ridiculous. If you DO get a deal, more often than not, the label will do an absolute minimum to do anything. They will ask you to pay for just anything, from printing your own posters to organizing your own media coverage. I’ve known people being signed and then dropped – caught in the contract that didn’t even allow them to move out of a totally blocking deal that lest them paralyzed and absolutely neglected and unpromoted by the label.
    On the other hand, established  labels seem to keep pushing their selling artists to an absurd extend – even if the artist is producing one lame , self-imitating and uninspired production after the other. They keep releasing artificially hyped up superstar reunions / get togethers that seem to consist in a few guys jamming and writing rudimental and uninspired charts in a couple of days and recording them . There is NO courage to promote or push new blood, not even with productions payed for by the artist himself, when all they’d have to do ist turn on their promoting machine to a minimum and use their already established channels.
    3-the net
    Initially, everyone , including me, hailed the internet as the next real revolution for artists, with all its incredible networking, contacting, cross working etc possibilities. I would never have had a chance to collaborate and meet the incredible musicians in several parts of the world without the net.
    But what had first been perceived as a superdemocracy is becoming an informational overkill and a disaster to people’s attention span and their ability to perceive anything with a minimal amount of mental clarity . There is absolutely no more filtering criteria that would induce the most basic form of quality hierarchy. On youtube and myspace, bedroom guitarists in front of their webcam are featured next to and thus think themselves in the same league as the masters. Consumers looking for any kind of music seem to get lost in their search, as there is no remaining filter that separates the men from the boys, at least not if you don’t have the luck to be on a label that invests in positioning you in a specific level of quality.
    People jump from clip to clip until they’re fed up, rarely ever using a clip to actually go and buy the CD, and have forgotten about the one they just saw about 10 seconds after switching to the next one. It’s all there for free anyway, so why bother? Musical quality has long stopped being a criteria that actually makes anyone draw attention. These days, a lot of people seem to concentrate on anything BUT that…spending more effort and time on hyping themselves up than on just making good music.
     So by what I and several of my fellow artist can see, there isn’t a “bad ” music industry, there is hardly any “music industry” at all, except in articles like yours and on TV.
    For most artists these days, the state of things is just sad, and this is largely due to the above mentioned reasons. As long as labels keep destroying entire musical ecosystems by only caring for multi million dollar artists with limited lifespans, and  and as long as people keep having absolutely NO respect for artist’s work and think that music is growing on trees or makes itself, it’s not about to change.

    • Claude

      And let me add that I have actually followed most of your rules over the years, including working my ass off, taking financial risks,  contacting people, gigging for ridiculously low money that made me actually pay to play, as all fees , from gas to hotels and paying other musicians,summed up to amounts always exceeding the money earned or offered.
      The sheer arrogance of clubs not even returning your mails and calls is staggering. A friend recently told me he had contacted 30 clubs here in EU, and got zero response. I have heard of top artists being rejected or got their second gig cancelled by Yoshi’s because they only seemed to sell 200 instead of 300 seats.
      Your suggestions are well intended, but some hardly meet the reality of today’s musicians, and the ” where there is a will there is a way” mantra also lost its validity in today’s market and internet mess, especially when all effort in the world cannot get you anywhere when no one is willing to pay you money for it, no matter how brilliant you are. And no, it is not even a matter of how good your stuff is – there are thousands of great musicians and songs around that will never even see the light of public perception, let alone the focus of an interested label. So please cut the “if you don’t sell you’re probably just not good enough” BS that some people seem to use as their main argument. As some famous horn player( I sadly don’t recall the name) recently said: “The times where the best were also the most recognized and successful have sadly long gone.”

      • http://www.groovearthrecords.com Michellegalas

        Hi Claude, I would like to add the following regarding what you mention (if you don’t sell you’re probably just not good enough”. I am not too agree with this.
        First you must know what you sell and for who and be able to reach thoses ones. If you do not put your music where it must be (platform ect,..) how can you reach your future consumers. You must have a sell strategy. It is not because the world put their music itunes that you must do even if Itunes attract the world. You must promote your music online but find another to sell it (you must think business) Most of the artist are not business minded, think how you can associate music with something else then use the other something else to sell you music. Most of the musci platform which promote your music now they have make their brain works to find ideas to make artist pay to sell or promote their music so why not you (Artist) find other ways to sell you music. Sometimes crazy ideas can be great ideas.Check all those music platform and see how they can make you have money not spend money and sometimes just be on earth and look at around you and look at where you live and find business ideas to sell your music. Show the labels that you make money and then they will come.

    • Stmar

      Very well said, all of this. Piracy is the #1 concern, especially for artists who produce music which is not amenable to touring and gigging, and thus the only source of income is recorded music sales and licensing.

      – Versus

      • Jerry

        Most major artists make their money by touring. For decades, the record industry have used unclear formulae and fuzzy math to exploit artists of their record sale proceeds. You have to stop thinking of music sales as an income stream and think of it as promotion. If you sell it on iTunes and get 1000 sales, consider that your cost recovery. If it has 400,000 downloads on a pirate site, that is promotion and when you play in the downloader’s town, they may come out to see you. 
        The paradigm has changed and so many are still trying to cling to the old model, while they publicly berate it.
        The new paradigm is performing live for the fans. Merchandise sales and performance fees/ticket sales are your income. Everything else is promotional, including your CD/iTunes sales.

  • Timcarrp1

    Great information 1

  • Wonwonjonjon

    I wasted my time reading this?  Guess I got hooked into the marketing line!   Silly me!

  • Lois Mahalia

    Wow this blog is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing I’m an artist and I’m inspired to continue:-)
    Thanks again
    Lois Mahalia

  • Lucky Reyes

    Finally the Truth comes out from a Good source Thanks for clarifying these issues to the point..

  • Tha Watermelon Man

    This information is on point and re-enforces what I know and have to to to accomplish my goals. As such, I have a digital distribution with Island Def Jam/TuneCore. Therefore, I request that readers look out for my pcoming album “Sacrifice Your First Born”. Accordingly, the first single “F**cking Loser” off the album can be found at the following; http://members.soundclick.com/tha+watermelon+man and also see; http://www.iamhiphop.com/profile/ThaWatermelonMan

  • Anthony bryant

    Greatly informative read~
    Thanks,

  • Jim

    Hello, can you inform me as to which is the better to sell your music though;   CD BABY or Tunecore ????? thank you

  • Indigophonics

    Thank you ! a very insightful and helpful review of a complex and changes industry……

  • Suckaforlife

    1) In consideration of all the brilliant suggestions listed thus far, if you do go the route of receiving an advance, don’t spend one cent. Put all of it in a high interest account.

    2) Sales are not our bread and butter, merchandise is. Touring doesn’t even pay the rent unless you are a sought after artist, but merchandise, including at show cd sales, will always bring more than online or retail.

  • Mariguas210

    hey G.H im Jaime E.EL MARIGUAS im here 4 one possible oppurtunity & that is 2 entertain in music wise .  I suddenly crested some off my own music video as if u would perhaps might wanna tune in  to my  work just go 2 youtube .com type in el rapiente,step into da onda vid .Thank u, I need a record deal por please . info 210 923-8456 or work # 210459-1104

  • Ameh martins

    Thank,s the start have come an end with good news from tune core,what are my mine is what come over here what about you there?the game of my is to get of top,not to base on only selling my album and get rich.but to take the tone core the way of their good did to the world.mostly we the up coming stars.what i personally see in this is when the tune core get you out to the world it must be the big chance for you before my.

  • music man

    I think @BrahmanKelleher & @BKMentalMilitia are good examples of real music from real people, and he plays all of the music himself. Most artists don’t play drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, write, rap and sing…..

  • Gaylord_allen

    Well then , new rules for the industry…….  Well you amaze me …… humm    .     Who is going to enforce all of these formal new dictations on you, the one who must follow them? 

  • Gaylord_allen

    What inspired all of this….         Simple……    The internet music groups don’t pay……..

  • http://twitter.com/molasses_jones molasses jones

    spot on!

  • Rmloftus

    do not waste your money on this site…….because you will pay them …..for absolutely nothing….
    if you are not a known artist…….forget it……..
    hope to sell………????????? unless you have allot of pushing “money” in advertisements, by a record label,
    etc….. it will never work…
    besides they take money out of the accounts…. I left mine to accumulate for advertising…. all of it disappeared by greedy fingers/people…. they are not there for the artists… they are very greedy people.. no…….if they are there only for distribution… why do they promote some artists>>>>>?????????
    this has been the biggest disappointment in my life……EVER…RML
    consideration what so ever……

  • ALAN HUELAR

    GREAT I REALLY LOVE IT AND LIKES IT….

  • Versuss

    All good and fine, as it is, but the #1 problem right now for the music world is PIRACY. What is TuneCore doing with all its influence and income to address this problem?

    Cheers,
    – Versus

    • Anonymous

      @versus

      Our job is to allow you as artists to have access and opportunity, create transparency, get more of your money quickly without taking your rights.

      Im afraid taking on the ISPs and trying to arrest and/or find everyone on the planet who steals your music is out of our league…

      What would you suggest we do?

      Jeff

  • Harry Winkler

    everything is true and it is important to make these things public.
    One fact I want add!
    Since a few years Labels, Editions and music distributors handle composers and songwriters in another evil kind: they do not want to pay for productions anymore! Their argument is, so we share the risk. Well, the musician creates, works, invested in his own studio or has to rent one and the @43819e057d7fde887891e88ecdda2e84:disqus ndustry takes his work, leans back and must only wait. Does it run well they enjoy, if not – no problem, the next stupid composer waits at the entrance! Sharing the risk????
    I am happy, me and my  family can live of my income as composer and musician and this since more than 30 years, but what happens with all these talented and motivated young musicians? They get promises, they believe and work hard and thereafter – they have to take any job at McDonald probably to survive.
    But it is of course also our own mistake, because would nobody of us, and I mean really nobody, give any song one of these sharks, what could they do? Nothing.
    Unfortunately this will never happen because to unite all the musicians around the world is not possible and so the music industry will also the next decades earn money from the work of talented and (I speak for myselfe) stupid musicians because we love waht we do and we take every little opportunity to get heard, right?
    Harry Winkler

  • JoPo

    Tunecore should follow that part that says:

    PAY ON TIME! – No more artificial royalty accounting periods.  Returns and co-ops are a thing of the past.  Pay out and account on one way no return sales that you have been paid in the same month you get them.The only reason to hold on to the money is to make bank interest on it.  If this is what you are going to do, see #1, BE TRANSPARENT and tell artists you are doing this.

    • Anonymous

      @joPo

      As you know, every single Monday of the year, whatever money the stores pay out goes into your account.
      there are no artificial time delays etc

      You get 100% of the money with 100% transparency

      There are only a few reasons why you would come to our blog and suggest TuneCore Artists do not get paid on time
      The first is, you are not a TuneCore customer – we get people like that from time to time that come to our blog and make things up
      The second is you have not had a chance to speak to our Artist Support team (or read our FAQ)
      I will ask them to reach out to you to follow up.

      jeff

  • Ameh_martins

    Matter most,an a poor men start from generational influence but not by royalty.an a common men invest the rich for some body not for he or her self.my music uploaded and some thing just happened,let just say death and stop say god for bid i am an a man of heart to speak.and then you went ahead of stop selling my  music this is called global crisis.let fine more to get us into something.although i just from the way to share my music no going back.i promise i must do something.tunecore.com we meld in meaning.
      ameh martins.

  • Anonymous

    Muy buena informacion.muy intesante

  • http://www.rackmountsales.com/Shock_Mount_Aluminum_Case_s/194.htm Shock Mount Aluminum Case

    Thanks you for keeping it so real with music world well”
    lucidity in your post is basically remarkable and I can presuppose you are a
    proficient on this field. I always look into these types of information and
    totally agreed with your thoughts. I am not really sure if best practices have
    emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your great job is clearly
    identified here.

     

  • JvbAL

    TrackTower(JvbAL)..Hey Hi or Hello there and will see around this matter…really all Comments are Goods but in my case i’d put on tunecore some garage demos for test and even i know that no have any Quality because i wanted to do something mean while i was preparing my DigiLab it took lot up time…otherwise looking and learning how is working the new situation outside,so just i make Music for Hobby and of course will be good if come some money but it’sn my bottom Line..telling the truth i love to be searching new stuff in shops like pedals,controller,guitars,bass,cables,mics,programs,interfaces,strings..etc is a Magical World for me..almost everything is inspirational..now is possible to send materials on line like part of the job i could name my style at this time (NewMix )  i mean some different Way..simple that,thanks to Tune Core for give me this opportunity,for be Patient waiting for me..  thouhg depend on me starting now to give a better work by next time…i am working on it..Thanks  Happy NYr and God Bless you all the Team…JMR

  • Gunakrishnarobert

    hi i wishe u good luck 

  • http://www.rackmountsales.com/Industrial_LCD_Panels_s/175.htm Rugged LCD

    How exciting, I will certainly take a look at this and I see
    that nobody has lost their passion. Thanks for making me conscious about new
    rules for music industry.

     

  • Misturanderson

    THIS IS A REALLY GREAT BREAKDOWN!! Thanks for posting, I will definitely share.

  • http://portugaljazz.org/ Portugal Jazz

    This is a sensitive issue but knowing the openness of the
    readers not the racist kinds will fully understand what other religion or
    spirituality a person is it is acceptable to discuss the issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1361214864 Henrik Flyman

    Extremely well-written and true.

  • Theablekind

       Many great points, this George. Typed with conviction, even. Thank you, not only for sharing this information and viewpoint, but giving that much more incentive on reaching the goals laid before. My band, the Able Kind, is one of which the subject matter relates. I recently signed up with this site and so far has been pleased as to what it offers. The points on getting the band and music “out there” is what interests me most. The shear availability of music out there is phenomenal! 
        George is right. Great music effects this world and fills some need to people like no other. I, like many others, feel a lot of music that is made popular (on the radio especially) lacks substance. Having said availability does give newer bands opportunity to be heard, which is something to considered and celebrated, even. These, most definitely are exciting times for the young guns of the scene.
           For those who are out there wanting real bands with real substance, check-out “the Able Kind” and their first release “Something to Say”.

         …Thank you, George.

  • http://twitter.com/RonGreezy Ronald A. Grant

    I have a rule for both parties: BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY! As in, be aware that the sharing economy is causing artists and the industry to be community minded if they want to be successful, and take advantage!

  • Zacheriah

    I’m a renegade,have been for years because there is a group of people who want to own me and I won’t have it.I do need someone who can help me bypass these people.I have one song on Tunecore and many more to put on.I write and sing and play a little.My experience has been as an outfront vocalist though,playing would take away from that.I need to get my single in front of the world to raise funds for my next project,a structured,well writen country song.SOme one out there help me please.

  • zog

    Hello George,
    I took an on- line course at Berklee so I am familiar with your writings and work. The record business is a broken record this I learned from you 6 years ago (though we all knew it) and I am very familiar with the music and entertainment business for over 35 years.
    Trying to change the music business is the wrong approach the correct approach for any artist,manager ,producer is not to live within some else rules but have your own set of rules.
    Do you want to be in business with someone who doesn’t share your ethical standards.
    Bonnie Raitt just released new music on her own label,doing it her own way,why spend money on lawyers to figure what your suppose to get,do it correctly the first time.

  • http://www.greathomeremedies.com/ Home Remedies

    Fantastic article by George Howard and Jeff Price. If you’re in the music industry (which most of you are), I definitely suggest reading this article.

  • http://www.spiritualimages.com/ spirituality

    Thanks for posting such informative content. Your post helps many people who actually are very interested in music industry.

  • http://fitnessbooksonline.com.au/ccp0-prodshow/basketball-women-nancy-lieberman-robin-roberts-sport-book-online.html basketball for women

    Thanks a lot for sharing such a nice and amazing post, its quite
    informative and in critical terms I would say that it posses all the
    negative and positive points of the topic. Thanks again for such a  lovely post.

  • http://www.simpletaxappeals.com/ Simple Tax Appeals Illinois

    Very nice site The blog article very surprised to me! I Will Share with my friends and I know they will like it.Thanks 

  • Andrewraut

    Amen! Shout it from the roof tops! I love this. You couldn’t have said it better. Thanks George!

  • Laura

    Oh yes and another rule for the industry. No abusing, torturing, signing names with blood, drugging, or killing the artists!

  • http://fcreporting.com/ Court Reporting in Florida

    I would like to thanks to George Jeff for discovering all these rules about music industry in this post.

  • http://www.thehomeandgiftshop.com/ Home Furnishings

    All new musicians should know about these rules. I think you have done a great job by posting these music industry rules here.

  • http://haroldweiser.com New Orleans Criminal Lawyers

    Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place..

  • http://www.bartleyridgecondo-sg.com/ Bartley Ridge

    Excellent issues altogether, you just won a new reader. What may you suggest in regards to your post that you simply made some days in the past? Any sure?