April 30, 2012



This blog is not going to be about the digital market place, where it's going, or how to get better at your craft. We are going to be asking some tough questions you need to sincerely and honestly answer.  I have spent the last several years compiling information on where the music industry is going by meeting with artists, developing artists, and working with up and coming stars.  There is a commonality between them all, in their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I hope to cover that commonality that I learned while standing outside of venues, in the studio, in phone conversations, talking with agents, A&R, managers, publicists, friends, family and the artists themselves. While this will not be an exhaustive outlay, it should give you some clarity on if you're in or out.

The one thing I am sure of is this is the best time ever for the independent artist/ entrepreneur. The internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and they're yours for the taking. Another thing I have learned is, if you're not willing to do the work, you're in the wrong business, and you should stop wasting your time and go back to your day job. However if you are willing to put in the hours upon hours of hard work, the rewards are limitless. 


Nearly all of the up and coming artists I talk with have day jobs, and some have families. First it is important that you get your priorities in check. Ask yourself, what is my definition of success? If you do not put God and family first, you may still make it to the top. However along the way you will make those around you miserable, families will breakup, children will be divided between parents, life will be miserable. and when you get to the proverbial top you will be alone, empty and ridden with guilt. So, balancing your career is not an act. It must be the very fiber you're made of.


You bet! I had the distinct pleasure of performing with Christian recording artist Luke James the other night.  We hung out a little while with a group of artists after the show. The conversation was no different than the ones I heard hundreds of times before. One comment I heard was, "I need help".  While the artist who made this statement was a consummate professional, and if he perseveres he will make it someday, this is a reality check for us all. We all need help, and can't make it on our own. Your family and friends can only help you so far. You must employ your fan base in this venture as well. This is a must. You can overcome all of the challenges of this business and have them become an asset with the help of those around you. First you must learn how to do that. One of our goals at AMP is to help you learn to use your resources.


Here are some questions you need to ask yourself in order to determine if you truthfully have what it takes and that you're not just running off the fumes of ego and denial. This is where the rubber meets the road. Do not take this lightly!!!!!!!

1. Am I self motivated

2. Am I willing to sacrifice

3. Can I take rejection

4. At the beginning am I willing to work long hours with no pay

5. Do I believe in myself

6. Do I have the patience

7. Can I not put a time limit on my career

8. Can I ask for help

Our goal at AMP is to help guide you through this maze. While this blog may seem tough. I meant it to be. THE MUSIC WORLD IS TOUGH. However it can be a lot of fun and highly rewarding in many ways. Let us help you succeed!

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April 29, 2012



 Remember this. If you're striving to be a recording artist, your number one concern should be your fans. You must honor and serve your fans. They can make you or break you, sustain you or drain you. If you're shooting for a record deal, you might want to try the lottery first. If you get a record deal, in the long run you might want to give it back. Here's an article I found I hope you will glean some ideas from. This is our thinking at AMP. Come join us as we create the new FAN LABEL!

Young musicians attract fan funding to avoid reliance on record industry

Liverpool acts Miss Stylie and Esco Williams among those using new, democratic ways to finance their careers
Jade Jackson, aka Miss Stylie
Jade Jackson, aka Miss Stylie, who is using crowd funding to support her music career. Photograph: Colin Mcpherson for the Guardian
Jade Jackson, aka Miss Stylie, got her first set of turntables when she was 12. By 17, she was standing outside a club in Liverpool in the rain refusing to go home until they let her MC. "I think they realised I wasn't going home, so they let me in in the end," she said. "I tore that place up."
But the artist – who flits between grimehip-hop and house – is still far from a record deal. Taking inspiration from the tattoo on her neck, which declares "Have No Fear", she has decided to take matters into her own hands and joinjoined a growing wave of artists relying on fans rather than industry executives to get their music heard.
With a performance on Friday night at the Getintothis awards in Liverpool – the scouse answer to the Mercury Music prize – Jackson launched an appeal to her fans through PledgeMusic, a website that lets fans "pledge" money towards an album before it is made, paying for its production.
"People think it's easy to put out an album but it ain't like that no more," said the 22-year-old from Toxteth, who gave up a possible career in football as a striker for Liverpool FC's women's team to concentrate on music. "This industry can be cruel, it can run you over. These days you have to create your own platform before anyone will even look at you."
With CD sales in decline and record deals thin on the ground, artists are increasingly looking for new ways to fund their careers, including direct-to-fan funding sites such as PledgeMusic, Sellaband – used by Public Enemy – and Kickstarter.
Bands such as the Libertines have used Pledge recently, with the site launching two campaigns daily, compared with two a week when the company was set up in 2009.
Managing director Malcolm Dunbar said: "CD sales are falling and it's difficult to even find somewhere to buy a CD, so creating your own buzz is much more necessary than it was."
If anyone is going to save the music industry, it is fans: "Selling direct to fans will be an integral part of the industry. Fans are an artist's lifeblood so it is increasingly necessary to engage with them and give real value for money."
Getting fans to invest directly in artists is part of a new grassroots movement in music, according to Peter Guy, a Liverpool music writer and creator of the Getintothis blog. Friday night's event was the inaugural GIT award to celebrate the diversity and talent of the city's music scene, put together with no external funding and little sponsorship.
"That DIY spirit has just become the norm," Guy said. "Artists and people in the music game don't have to rely on that old record label infrastructure; people are just coming together, working collaboratively and doing it for themselves."
Esco Williams – a Liverpudlian answer to Marvin Gaye whose recent DIY efforts saw him making a video on the roof of a multistorey car park – has just hit his target of £5,000 to fund his first album after an appeal to"you, yer mates, yer ma".
He says crowd funding – creating a buzz at his live gigs, on Twitter and Facebook – has given him the confidence to follow his own path. With record labels now insisting on 360 degree deals that take a cut of everything from an artist's T-shirt sales to live shows, fan-funding means any money made goes back to the artist.
"We're doing everything in-house; whatever we do and whatever we make is for us, we don't have to sell out. With a big label, you are not a priority unless you are Beyoncé," Williams said.
With some major record labels increasingly relying on televised talent shows to find artists – the prize for BBC1's The Voice is a recording contract with Universal – emerging acts are having to find new routes to stardom, according to Jon Webster, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum.
"Above my desk is a sign which says: 'There are no rules any more'," he said. There is still some reticence in the industry about using fan-funded sites, particularly around more innovative methods of raising money, such as selling experiences such as having dinner or going bowling with the artist.
Webster said: "Not everyone is comfortable with it. Some younger, perhaps more transient pop acts might embrace new revenue streams that older more established artists might not, for example."
Miss Stylie's manager, Andy Ng, said: "In this day and age, fans are the taste-makers. In the past, you signed with a label because they had distribution, radio pluggers, press teams, but that whole system is breaking down now. It's a democracy, not a dictatorship any more."
Getting her album made thanks to her fans is the first step, Miss Stylie says, on a path to world domination. "I'm going to be coming into a big game with my defences ready," she said. "But I knew when I was waiting outside that club: I'm going to get there somehow."
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Khul Rhema's Testimony

Khul Rhema's Testimony
When I set out for LA back in 1995, I had one thing on my mind—to make it big! I was an aspiring music producer and I truly believed that if I put myself in a position to be heard by any music exec that I would be this huge overnight success. And I was right . . . almost. The record label was one that was run by a notorious gang leader in the Crips organization—which at that time was cool by me.  However, the problem came in when I began to read the contract.
So I left the label that supplied me with my only source of income and there I was, thousands of miles away from my native Georgia—with no money. Thank God, I landed a job at a local carwash—this supplied me with enough money to rent a room at a lodge. The lodge mostly housed drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless people who managed to raise enough money from begging to pay hotel fare, visibly diseased men and women, and a female gang member named Angie.
Angie was a drug trafficker for a supplier in LA. She and I became fast friends. In fact, we became so close that she offered to supply me with drugs—free of charge—and introduce me to her fellow gang members who sold drugs in the local area. I accepted and began a life of “trappin’” with the Crips. The money was very good and things were going great until I had an encounter with a particular customer.

She was an addict who had no money left to buy drugs, so she offered me a bike. Everybody else in the trap had a bike, so I thought it was a pretty good bargain. We made the transaction. Two days later, she came back with a small kid who was crying real bad. The kid was her son whose bike she had sold to me for drugs. She confessed to me that she sold me his bike and begged me to forgive her and return the bike to him. My fellow pushers laughed and said I would be stupid to give it back.  I guess I really didn’t have what it takes to be a successful drug dealer—I couldn’t do that to the kid.

That experience changed my whole perspective on selling drugs. I realized that I was contributing to the demise of hundreds and ultimately thousands of lives if I continued. I didn’t. On my way back to the lodge that day, I destroyed the rest of my stash (worth hundreds). I was certain I could find a fast food gig or something to tie me over. But I couldn’t. I was eventually evicted from the lodge and found myself taking refuge in a Greyhound bus station.

I called family in search of financial assistance. No one seemed to have money they could send. One was an uncle who was a preacher. He told me that God was a “burden removing, yoke destroying” God. These words resonated in me—mainly because I didn’t know what was meant by God being a ‘yoke destroying’ God. My only reference at the time was to egg yokes! So I asked my uncle, who explained to me that the Scripture was referring to the wooden clamp that was used to control beasts of burden, such as horses, mules and oxen, used to plow fields in the old days.

When my uncle gave me that visual—I felt the connection. I felt that I was like those beasts of burden, working to move forward but throughout my life there was always a weight that seemed to prevail at weighing me down. I desired this power of God my uncle was telling me about. I attended a local church where the “preaching” was more like “teaching.” This was wonderfully new to me—as I’m from South Georgia where all the preachers were crooners and wailers, more or less.  One significant Sunday was when the pastor taught on how to pray. He explained the components of effective prayer—coming into His presence with thanksgiving and praise, praying in the name of Jesus

Christ, interceding and making my petitions known according to the Word and His promises, believing and receiving answered prayer in advance—in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I put the lesson to work after I discovered that my family was not able to assist me at that time. I was hungry and homeless. After leaving a payphone conversation with my mom, I broke down to my knees with tears rushing down my face and I cried out in the middle of the sidewalk in front of a sea of pedestrians and passer-bys. I cried out to God, “ Father!! Hallelujah! I give you all the praise—You are worthy of my praise. In the name of Jesus, I come into Your presence. I thank You for life, for Your mercy and grace. I need Your mercy Father! I was told that You are a yoke destroying, burden removing God. And I’ve got many burdens and many yokes. If You will remove them from my life, I will serve You for the rest of my life! I thank You right now, in advance, because I pray according to Your will for my life and I know it will come to pass. Thank You in Jesus name . . . AMEN!” Immediately, when I said “Amen,” I felt a very present “presence.” It was wonderful—serene, peaceful, comforting—it felt great! I began praising God emphatically. I went back to sit in front of the lodge I was evicted from. Not more than an hour later, a guy that I met at the church came by, rolled down the passenger window of his car and shouted to me, “Hey—you looking for a job?” Praise God! for He is Faithful. From that day forward I became a servant and son of the Most High God. Though life hasn’t always been easy since, I go forward knowing that He is with me and that He’ll never leave nor forsake me. He loves me and forgives me when I err.


April 28, 2012

Satire day jokes for you music folks



Q: Did you hear about the bass player who locked his keys in the car?
A: It took him an 
hour to get the drummer out! 

A drummer walks into a library and says: "Hi I'll have a burger,fries, and a large coke." The librarian responds: Sshhhh....do you know where you are? This is a library!" The drummer, sheepishly, and in a whisper says: "Sorry....I'll have a burger, fries and a large coke." 

Q: What's the last thing a drummer says in a band?
A: Hey guys, let's do one of my songs. 

Q: How many guitar players does it take to cover a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune?
A: Evidently all of them. 

Q: How do you get a guitar player off of your front porch?
A:Pay for the pizza. 

"Mommy! Mommy! When I grow up I want to be a guitar player!"
"Now Johnny, you can't do both!"

Q: What do you call a guitarist who breaks up with his girlfriend?
A: Homeless .. 

Q: Why was the piano invented? 
A: So the musician would have a place to put his beer. 

Q: What's another definition of perfect pitch?
A: When you throw the banjo in a dumpster and it lands on an accordian! 

Q: What's the difference between a banjo and a lawnmower?
A: You can tune a lawnmower! 

Q: What is the least used sentence in the english language?
A: "Hey, is that the banjo players porsche?" 

Listener: Can you read music?
Banjo player: not enough to hurt my playing. 

Q: What is worse than a banjo?
A: Banjos. 

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April 27, 2012


• “21”
9x multi-Platinum

• “Brothers”
The Black Keys

• “Tailgates & Tanlines”
Luke Bryan

• “Tonight”

• “Enjoy Yourself”
Billy Currington

• “Intimacy”

• “Up All Night”
One Direction

Digital Singles
• “Grenade”
Bruno Mars
5x multi-Platinum

• “We Are Young”
3x multi-Platinum

• “In the Dark”

• “Somebody That I Used To Know”

• “What Makes You Beautiful”
One Direction

• “Part Of Me”
Katy Perry
For RIAA’s latest monthly Gold & Platinum certification tally click  here

The Download on Digital Sales in 2011
In 2011, for the first time, digital music sales accounted for more than 50 percent of total music industry revenues, according to the RIAA’s recently-released year-end stats.  Year-over-year, total digital music sales increased nine percent, while downloads specifically grew 17 percent, and subscription services were up 18 percent. Additionally, sales of old-school vinyl albums continued to soar, up 34 percent versus the prior year, with more than five million units shipped.

The RIAA’s annual shipment reports track total recorded music industry sales in the United States dating all the way back to 1973. Get access to the figures on RIAA.com here.  

White House Highlights Economic Contributions of IP
A first-of-its-kind study on intellectual property industries’ contribution to our national economy was released by the U.S. Commerce Department in April.

Overall, the report characterized 75 of 313 American industries as “IP-intensive,” finding that they directly employ 27 million Americans, add $5 trillion to the GDP, and account for $775 billion in exports (60 percent of total merchandise exports). Further, “copyright-intensive” industries, which include sound recording businesses, directly employ 5.1 million people, support an additional 2.5 million related support jobs, and account for 4 percent of GDP ($640 billion).

Record Store Day Boosts Music Sales 

Music sales surged at independent retailers on America’s fifth annual Record Store Day, held in April to encourage fans to rediscover their local music stores. Vinyl album purchases during Record Store Week were nearly double the levels of a normal week, and physical single sales doubled compared to Record Store Day 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Check out RIAA’s blog post on the event for vinyl music sales statistics and more. 

Facebook to Music Fans: Listen Here

Facebook has unveiled a prominently placed “Listen” button on musicians’ pages, allowing users to stream songs on Facebook supported music apps like Rdio, Spotify, MOG, Slacker, and more. Social networkers who haven’t yet installed any Facebook music apps will be prompted to do so.

Internet Radio Rising
The number of Americans listening to Internet radio on a weekly basis increased 30 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a new report from Arbitron Inc. Average time spent listening to online radio sites – like Last.fm, Pandora, and Slacker – also grew, from 9.3 hours per week to 9.8. 

In related news, Pandora recently reported that it streams more than one billion listener hours per month, up 88 percent from one year prior. 

According to Billboard.com the top digital downloads for the week of April 28 are:


# 1 – “Somebody That I Used To Know” Gotye feat. Kimbra
# 2 – “We Are Young” Fun. feat. Janelle Monae
# 3 – “What Makes You Beautiful” One Direction
# 4 – “Boyfriend” Justin Bieber
# 5 – “Call Me Maybe” Carly Rae Jepsen


# 1 – “Tuskegee” Lionel Richie
# 2 – “Making Mirrors” Gotye
# 3 – “Up All Night” One Direction
# 4 – “All American (EP)” Hoodie Allen
# 5 – “Slipstream” Bonnie Raitt

* Yahoo! Music recently became VEVO’ssyndication partner, adding to a growing list of sites like AOL, MTV, BET and CBS that stream VEVO music videos.

* Amazon Music has launched a Tumblr blogfeaturing MP3 deals, new release info and more.

* Rdio recently redesigned its music subscription interface to add a drag and drop feature, private playlists, and more.

* The RIAA, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, will receive NARM’s Presidential Awardfor Sustained Industry Achievement at NARM’s Music Biz 2012 convention in May.

* Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, the Beastie Boys, and more were inducted into theRock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 27th annual ceremony in April.

• “Slipstream”
Bonnie Raitt

• “Love Is a Four Letter Word”
Jason Mraz

• “Best of Kokua Festival”
Jack Johnson & Friends

• “California 37”

• “Blunderbuss”
Jack White

• “Up All Night”
Kip Moore

• “The Wanted”
The Wanted

• “Little Broken Hearts”
Norah Jones

• “Blown Away”
Carrie Underwood

• “The Music of SMASH”

• “Strangeland”

• “Fortune”
Chris Brown

• “Trespassing”
Adam Lambert

• “Born and Raised”
John Mayer