August 31, 2012

Music business moving at the speed of light

I just finished writing an article on the  new stuff that's happening in the digital world. Later in the day I had a meeting with some tech folks. Here's my take-away.

Coincidentally, I spent the day with a group of techs, engineers and programmers working on a project for AMP. (The Association of Music Professionals). We were working on a membership software solution to manage content for AMP.  I was amazed as I listened to these highly trained professionals talking about all the changes coming up.  They stated that they launched a new change in their product every two weeks.  My point is, you must keep abreast of technology if you plan on living in this business.  It’s not a suggestion, it’s a requirement.

They say there’s no point beating a dead horse; well I have my stick out and might as well use it.  Are you investing in your tech knowledge?  If you're serious about being in this business you must ask yourself; how much of myself am I willing to invest?  Do I really have the passion, the drive, am I willing to sacrifice?  The reason I‘m asking you repeatedly is I don’t want to see you waking up in a few years regretting your decision.  I see people dropping out every day, and it is very sad.  Don’t be another fatality!  Take this as seriously as you would crossing a busy intersection; remember this is your life.
One of the attitudes I see regularly from people coming into the business is, the insiders know all the secrets.  That’s just not the truth.  The truth is there are no secrets.  Have you heard of the web?  Talk to it, ask it questions, it will steer you to the answers.  Please don’t let that attitude be yours.

August 30, 2012

# 1 mistake writers make/and more

Being in the music business for many years has given me some insight on some of the personal habits of musicians.  Some of those habits are quite quirky and worthy of a laugh.  Then there are those habits that are sad.  Some of these habits can cost them their careers.  One of the most annoying traits inherent is being tardy.  When I was in school, if you were tardy, you were sent to the principal's office and you were in big trouble.  I spent a lot of time there, and because of that I am always on time.  Not being on time shows disrespect for others.  Not a good way to make a good impression.  OK, I had to get that off my chest.


Believe it or not it's education.  I don't mean you have to have a masters or PHD.  I am simply talking about taking the time to learn the business of your career.  While there is some that see the value in this effort, most don't even take the time to look.  In today's world of the web, there is no excuse for lack of knowledge.  Everything you need to know is out there.  You just need to get off your lazy butt and get it.  With knowledge, passion, effort, and talent, you will succeed.  I will list some building blocks below of some of the things you need to do to get started.  While not an exhaustive list, it will get you started.

1. Start with a plan-- If you don't know where you're going, how will you get there? This is the # 1 reason most people fail is the lack of planning.

2. Networking - Important beyond your imagination.

3. Social media - You must know how to navigate this world in order to succeed.

4. Publishing and how it works.  If you don't understand this part of the business, you will lose your rear.

5. Booking -- Another need to know and understand

6. Contracts -- History will tell you why you need this knowledge.

7. Management -- Ask the New Kids On The Block why you need this.

8. Demo process -- You can waste a lot of money if you don't understand this process

9. Producing - Another valuable tool

10. Your craft  -- Need I say more?

The best way to learn the business is to learn from those who have been successful in the business.  Going to music business school or reading everything you can about the business, IS GREAT and needed.  However all the schooling and reading in the world will never totally prepare you for what it's really like in the real world.  Reputable Professional Associations are one of the most valuable tools you can use.

Naive - extremely simple and trusting – We would all like to believe that everyone is looking out for our best interest.  The fact is they're not.  We are going to assume you are a writer and you’ve written a hit, and now you're ready to pitch your baby to the music world.  Are you really ready?  I’m going to give you a list of questions you should be able to answer if you’re truly ready.
1.   Have you had your song reviewed by a professional?
2.   Do you really know what kind of demo you need?  Most writers assume they do.
3.   Do you really understand the copyright process?
4.   Do you know where to pitch it?
5.   Do you understand publishing?
6.   Have you signed up with a PRO?
7.   Do you know what a pitch sheet is?
8.   Have you networked to make contacts in the industry?

If you have answered yes to all of the above then I think it would be safe to say, you may be ready.  If you could not answer yes to the above questions, then you need to back up, and regroup.  You may be thinking I don’t have time to learn all that stuff.  The reality is you don’t have time not to.  Remember, miss a step and it will bite you where?  Adolescent writers will get spanked in this business, and sent to time out, so put all the bullets in your gun before you shoot, it’s just safer that way.  I love mixed metaphors don’t you?  This book is not intended to do the work for you.  My intention is to point you in the right direction and send you off.  However, I would like to throw in a little basic songwriting jargon, and some professional songwriting shortcuts.

August 29, 2012


Hear is a taste of Chapter 8 of my new book: The Ugly Truth of the Music Business / A Survivors Guide.

Chapter 8
Songwriting is the Genesis of the music business.  Nothing could happen in this industry without the Songwriter.  There would be no record labels, publishers, managers, or for that fact the music industry would not exist. 
I have been a publisher and writer for over 20+ years and this topic is very dear to my heart.  I was very fortunate to have signed a publishing deal very early in my career.  During my years as a writer and publisher in Nashville I had the opportunity to write with some of the best writers in the world as well as some of the worst; both were of equal value.  I found that knowing what not to do is just as important as learning what to do.  It’s like playing in a band; knowing when not to play is just as important as knowing when to play.  The same goes for the songwriting business.  I can’t emphasize how important it is to understand the business side of this craft.  If you are not armed with the proper knowledge of this business you are doomed to what I call “Parasitical Rhythms”.  It’s like the attack of the southern mosquito, they will suck the blood out of you if you're not armed with some repellant.  In this case your repellant is knowledge.

I am blessed to be the President and Founder of AMP (THE ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC PROFESSIONALS).  AMP is a Professional membership association that trains, educates and mentors those with an interest in the music industry.  This fast growing Association was born out of the desire to protect songwriters from the snakes and landmines of this treacherous business.  We will be covering the do’s, don'ts and better nots.  As with everything we teach at AMP we always begin with preparation, and this is no different.
Preparation -- readiness -softening approach to dissonance.
I encourage you to write, write, and write.  While simultaneously learning the business side, if you don’t your chances of getting eaten by the 3 headed parasitacyclops is certain to happen.

August 27, 2012



Welcome to Monday morning. I thought I would start my week off with a little different approach than normal. Normally I will begin with a blog about something that is music business minded.  It is very easy for us to forget the most important tool of all, and that is: feeding our state of mind, body and spiritual center.  What is your first thought as you begin your week? I bet you can relate to some of these.

How am I going to accomplish all the tasks I need to do this week? It's overwhelming. 

I don't know if I'm capable of doing all that is required of me.

I don't want to go to work.

Will I make enough money to meet my needs.

Oh no, I have to deal with him again.

Boy I dread that meeting.

I'm going to let him or her have it!

Rush hour *(^*&^%#

Is it Friday yet?

Well , we all have these random thoughts and more.  You're not alone.  What are some of yours?
It is very common to start the day with a host of thoughts that are trying to steal your joy.  This is where the work begins for your week.  The way you start your week could very well be the way you end it. 

Are we victims of our thoughts?  Do you allow your thoughts to hold you captive?  Do your thoughts control your attitude?  Does fear keep you from your dream, or does your dream keep you from your fear?

Here's an idea; let's take our thoughts back.  Wouldn't it be great if we could control our thoughts, instead of allowing our thoughts to control us?  Well, you can if you're willing to do the work.

I have to work extra hard to keep my thoughts at bay.  I begin my day the night before.  When I was a kid my Dad would take me fishing.  This was one of the most enjoyable and exciting things I remember as a child.  This was the cats meow.  When I lay down at night, I begin working on the next day.  I remember those times going fishing with my Dad, and the anticipation of the next day, and what is was like.  I could hardly sleep.  I begin my mindset with the memories of those times and look forward to going fishing the next day.  I can't wait to threw my line in the water and see what I'm going to catch.  That's how I begin by day, that is, after I hit my knees and pray.  I'm just saying it takes work and planning to succeed in this challenging business.  I will promise you this, it's worth it.

Remember your part of the music business.  Invest in yourself, as much as you invest in the stuff, and you will be amazed at the ROI-- Return on your investment.

August 23, 2012



Here is a sample from Chapter 7 of my new book coming out soon, The Ugly Truth of the Music Business / Survivors Guide.  We will be touching on all things digital relating to our business.

The Digital Crossroads is here.  We are crossing a bridge into a new and exciting era of opportunities in the music industry.  This is a world where everything is happening at breakneck speeds, a world where yesterday’s news was this morning, and an environment where understanding technology is not an option but a requirement.  

The digital bridge is the connector to your future.  In the past you’re connecting sinews such as mega marketing dollars, the good old boys network; including record labels, publishers, radio, distributors, etc.  Today the bridge to your future is the World Wide Web and all it compasses.

TRANSFORMATIONAL INNOVATION - That's a cool tag.  What does it mean?  "Relating to or involving transformation or transformations."  Ok then!  Did you get that?  How about innovation?  a new method, idea, product, etc... While these definitions are clear, precise, and simple, TRANSFORMATIONAL INNOVATION is probably the most difficult task at hand right now for the music industry.  You have the record labels scrambling to hold on to their piece of the sky, while the Indies are eating their piece of the cake, while the Digital download industry is chewing their cud, and radio is losing ground but holding on.  I know this is a lot of mixed metaphors, I'm just saying.  It's kind of like watching a fish flop around in the bottom of the boat after you just caught him.  What is going on?

I spend a lot of my days doing research and speaking with music industry folk.  I have found there are as many opinions as people as to where the music industry is going.  I will say this.  The industry is transforming and innovation will lead the way.  We're just not sure where yet.  Although, there is some clarity beginning to surface, the future is beginning to look very favorable on the Artist/writer side of the equation.  For that I am very thankful. 

August 9, 2012


Here is an unedited excerpt from chapter 6 of my new book coming out soon. Read it - think about it- answer the question at the end. I would love to hear your thoughts.



1.   Something built or erected
2.   System of parts
3.   Way that parts link or function
4.   Part of an organism 

Something built or erected:
As we begin to build an interdependent label we must first get rid of the idea, that the old way of thinking, that everything must be our idea, and ours alone, is void.  We need to switch to a Collaborative Building Ethic.

Collaborative Building Ethic – This is a process characterized by building on your ideas, along with other ideas, one idea sparking another, increasing the strength of the foundation of your original idea, thus the beginning of building a stronger and richer foundation.

   System of parts:
What if you purchased a new car with all the cool options available, but the one option you didn’t get was the transmission?  You could sit there, blast your state of the art audio system, watch a DVD, accelerate the engine, recline in your luxury seats and chill.  The only problem is, without a transmission you would not be able to go anywhere.  In other words you must have all of the parts for your machine to function properly.

Way that parts link or function:
OK, lets say you now have all the parts for our brand new fancy car.  We got a brand new transmission and we’re ready to go. So, you reach down into your pocket, pull out the keys, and stick them into the gas tank.  You’re shocked, what happened? This is a brand new car, and you scream in total shock, why want it start?  You’re immediately enraged and your ready to take it back to the dealer and give him a piece of your mind.  It’s the same thing in the music business.  You must understand how all the parts work together in order to understand the sum of the part you play.  You don’t have to be an expert in every area, but you must have a general understanding of all the pieces.  Do your homework.

Part of an organism – system of interdependent parts:
It is key that you understand how being a part of a living organism applies to being a part of the music world.  If you cut your heart out you will surely die.  If you severed your legs you could not walk.  Need I go on?  The biggest misnomer I have witnessed in this industry is how so many people have severed themselves from the body in the name of success.  How did we become so blind in an industry that claims to be based on creativity passion and love?  I will leave this up to you to answer.

August 6, 2012


The talk on the street is, this is the day of the independent record label.  I say that has got to change too.  The paradigm of independent labels has to change, or we will be working from an old model that was created out of a necessity that was driven by the Major Record labels of the past.  The old model was one of greed, win/ lose and a parasitical profit structure paid for and sponsored by the creative community.  It's time to start anew with an interdependent attitude and a rally for change.  It's not going to be easy, or fast, however, we can do it together.

I spent many years in the music business in Nashville and I can tell you with certainty it was dog eat dog.  Everyone was suspicious of everyone one else and living in an atmosphere of fear.  The mentality was one of lack not abundance.  We believe there is plenty for everyone and if we live that together there will be even more to go around and shared.  I personally can't live in the old way of doing things mentality anymore.

So where does it start?  It starts with you and everyone around you.  We are working on a new model of doing business, and creating an interdependent environment working structure.  There is not enough time to share all we're doing in this blog.  My objective for now is to plant a seed in hope that you will ponder this idea and begin to apply it in your new way of thinking, and share it with the community.

INTERDEPENDENT -- interdependent |ˌintərdiˈpendənt|adjective(of two or more people or things) dependent on each other the increasingly global nature of human society, with interdependent economies.


August 3, 2012

Is this really true... Take a break you deserve it.

It's Friday yeah!     Lighten up!  Chill out!!!! Don't take yourself so serious

A group of 15-year old guys discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Dairy Queen next to the Ocean View restaurant because they only had $6.00 between them and Jannie Johnson, that cute girl in Social Studies, lives on that street and they might see her and they can ride their bikes there.
Ten years later, the group of 25-year-old guys discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the beer was cheap, they had free snacks, the band was good, there was no cover and there were lots of cute girls.
Ten years later, at 35 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the booze was good, it was right near the gym and if they went late enough, there wouldn’t be too many whiny little kids.
Ten years later, at 45 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the martinis were big, and the waitresses had nice boobs and wore tight pants.
Ten years later, at 55 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the prices were reasonable, the wine list was good and fish is good for your cholesterol.
Ten years later, at 65 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the lighting was good and they have an early bird special.
Ten years later, at 75 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food was not too spicy, and the restaurant was handicapped accessible.
Ten years later, at 85 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.

August 1, 2012


Here is an excerpt from my new book coming out soon:

One of the most frequently recurring questions is, are the major record labels going away, probably not.  Ask yourself these questions; should the majors go away, will they be of value in the future, should they continue to have the power they have always had, is there a way for us to all exist in the same space in a benefit to benefit Co – existence?
 There are lots of newbies as well as old-bies who would say, get the gallows ready, and hang them all.  Let’s take a look at that way of thinking through our new glasses.  A world of no competition would be called a monopoly. Monopolies breed greed, greed breeds bondage, bondage robs you of your freedom, while lack of freedom steals your creativity.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  The labels had their day and a grand old day it was.  From a nostalgic kind of hate love romance point of view, I hope to see them around for a long time.  They are going through a change that is propagated by demand, a forced recovery from bad habits.  They will have to change, or they will truly go the way of the dinosaur.  The new paradigm for this industry must be: the pie is big enough for us all.  If we could all rally around the idea, the design, that if the music business would work together to serve the art of music, it’s artist, as well as the fans, then the pie would be bigger and sweeter for all of us.  Have you heard the acronym for EGO – EDGING GOD OUT? Here’s a new one for you ECO – EDGING CENTER OUT. ECO/ ECOLOGY – The natural balance of the music business has become contaminated with the unnatural balance from the EGO system, and has evolved into an egocentric, selfish, self-centered driven industry.
The questions we need to ask here are, how do we put the ART back into Art, take the EGO out of ECO and balance things out?  While this altruistic view reeks of idealism, there is plenty of room for improvement, and a definite need to bring things back to the center.  We do that simply by beginning with one person at a time.  There are no theories needed here, you can put Darwin back to sleep.