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Dream it, Do it: Breaking Into The Music Industry

Lesson 10 of 11

Challenges & Applying These Ideas

Steve Rennie

Dream it, Do it: Breaking Into The Music Industry

Steve Rennie

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Lesson Info

10. Challenges & Applying These Ideas

Lesson Info

Challenges & Applying These Ideas

This section here is our attempt to take all of these different ideas that we've talked about, whether it's, you know, dream and it doing in being a manager, getting the money, focusing on the winds, true north, best idea, all that stuff and kind of bring it down to ground zero here because every one of you has some questions, some burning issue that you're trying to grapple with, and I want you to understand how a grisly old professional, a grisly old veteran approaches these things because the I might say it a different way, I might put it different terms, but it's been my experience that they're really successful people, while they all might have their different style, they share a similar mentality about how they approach things. So I want you guys to take the time here and tell me what's on your mind, and I'll start us off here a little bit. I put a couple of what I call the burning issues, the things that I come up against, you know, most of the time when I when I am talking to f...

olks in on our website, we have a little section on the website. If you guys are back there gentlemen website, please, you go slide over here. Right here ask ram and I get all kinds of questions if you're a member of our site and you didn't have a chance tio to be here today or you've got some question this is a great place to to put him and I come back and that on this air and from all in a day but I can assure you this is nobody answering this I know yet is really when he's actually well no it's not a body but these air to tease we got a whole bunch of new questions here today okay good so they're panicked and these are the questions I answer self we scroll down you'll see some of the questions I want you to tell me what's on your mind today and then I want to kind of walk you through how we we talk this let's go take one got someone there that we got from our viewers you're throwing out yeah we dio that's on their mind so my biggest issue devon says my biggest issue is not the making of the record or distributing it digitally but what's the best way to build an audience besides touring best ways to recoup some of that money of making that brokered okay we're going to pay more for press campaigns for radio or simply do my best to find licensing deals okay let's start with something simple the best way to build an audience keep showing up right um you keep showing up people take you seriously right? So I don't know how many gigs blackie's down, but I'm betting it's if you so you start by showing up. So what does that mean? That means you keep putting out music we talked about earlier about you could put out a whole album ten or twelve songs have to be judged on one, right? So you get one chance to be rand knew and then you love you shoot your whole clip off and you're done or you could take that approach of just showing up ok, so I'm going to take ten songs and I'm going to put one out every month so for a year I have a conversation going about my music right while recorded for the same amount of money and you can keep the conversation going do you spend money on radio? Let me talk about radio in terms of money. Ok, get the money money has me here's my opinion on radio radio going to really radio is expensive is all get up when you talk about the advantages that major labels out. Why indy versus a major label? The biggest advantage the radio the record labels have major labels is is their relationships with radio because they have a constant flow of product. They keep showing up with a new record every week, right? But they also I have an infrastructure that got radio promotion people across the country to have deep relationships with those radio stations, right? And they also have money we talked about, you got to get the money, so if you're a manager or you're an artist and you don't have the money to spend on radio, and you got a song that's worth while you need to get the money, but we told you, money doesn't have a, you know, brain and and have conscious use this money, so you need some experienced people to direct it at the right time when we talk about the right idea. Good right idea at the right time, I told unique this we didn't even go to radio on their first record. That's crazy? No, it was and we didn't think we'd get on radio. What we knew we had a great live band. So what do we do? We spent three hundred grand keeping him on the road. We don't spend money on video, so to your question is keep showing up. How do you guarantee that you show up? Keep putting music out if that's what you do and somebody asked, get that cocktail party? What do you d'oh? I'm a musician, I got a new song out, I got a new this right, the touring is something that if you believe in your true north and europe that you're a performer you like performing you think you have an act that's work people buying tickets, you've got to go out and do it you can't deny it, they don't invite you into the forum or the what's the big arena here and down right? You don't get that if I do you take little steps along the way, okay, now maybe you came out of nowhere you're one of those american idol people that popped out of the way going beyond the american idol treating fill eighteen thousand people wants then you're done okay, so does that answer their question? I think so okay, and I give you that does so toby wants to know how do you make sure people at a grassroots level promoters except you don't take advantage of your youthful naivety and music so somebody who doesn't have a lawyer to represent them or a whole bunch of experience did quite a hard question first thing is you you do your homework, you know what you're talking about, okay? Authority, I suppose could be highlighted by age if you looked like this, people assume you've been around and done it for a while, right? And I often will talk about this kid, this kid, right kid or whatever, but it's, you know it's just the old guy may see a kid where kids said it when I wasn't, but the point is when you're in business with somebody, the ultimate yardstick isn't whether you think they're young or not it's whether they know their stuff right? And so if you've got some young kid that thinks he knows everything but doesn't know anything and I know he doesn't know anything, I won't have respect him, but if I run into a young person that's done his homework for example he goes to a gig and some guy goes, hey, I'm not going to pay you and that kid goes, hey, sir, I showed up you agreed to pay me two hundred dollars and I showed up we did what we're supposed to dio I did everything we're supposed to do now you're not paying me well, you know what? I can't pull out a gun and shoot you I can't hire a lawyer, but I'll tell you what I can do, I'm going to find a way to doom or people I'm going to do my next show for your competitors and then when you come and wake up and come back to me, that five hundred dollars guarantee is going to be a thousand dollars, okay, because you have the leverage and I know it okay? And you're taking advantage of me and I know it, ok but if I get a better day, I got you in my mind, my friend, and you will pay in the end, okay? And you still you don't have the leverage, but you, khun b business like you don't have to yell and you scream I had this question, some kid asked me, how do I avoid getting step? Big bands get stiffed from time to time, right? And, you know, when they pay you, they think you're coming back again, okay, so those are the things that experience teaches you this. Why would I talk about kids and your people that are starting? And they're trying to figure it out, hang out with smart people, hang out with people that have done it, listen to the people that have done it listened to the doers don't listen to all those internet, you know, purported experts that have a nice block that figured out how to get a lot more views, and I could get right, but they don't know what they're talking about experience is, is the leveling of the playing field, right? So you're going to get taken advantage, whether you're big band a little bit, how you handle it, um, says a lot about you, but get up to speed to your homework know what you're talking about, the forty because when I meet a young person that really understands it and I've met a few through in our web show I can spot him in a second in and they just have right in six I hired one of cody romney's you know who didn't come in and say I don't do this I didn't tell him he came in he sat around the room listen to the conversation on this and then he took care of stuff you know? So that's that's something you said so you know get experienced by doing it while you're trying to get experience, hang out with some smart people or listen find a way to learn from some smart people ok? Next one all right? So double secret probation seeming less maybe the name of his band I'm in a local band that draws one hundred people at home town venues and have open for five national touring shows in the last year we just finished a new record and they're gearing up to release it what's the next step should we reach out to and our labels or should we just keep trying to grow the fan base? Um you should keep trying to grow the fan base because even if you get on a label is going to keep trying to grow the fan base right? Okay so that one doesn't require yes or no on anybody's part but you okay controllable item kind of right we talked at the very outset control the controllable ones manage the uncontrollable ones right should you be talking to a major label? Um what's the worst that could happen you present your music to a major label what's the worst thing that could happen they say no right? Okay, we talked about the idea that you've got to be willing to stomach a few knows to get to a yes how many great yes is does it take to change your life just one so to your question should you submitted to a label? Yes. Ok. And how should you submit let's talk about that? You've got to think about presentation, right? We talked about that somewhere in here, you know, because you weren't you trying to do is get in the scoring zone here, right? So you made a record you're out touring tell that story that you just told to may hey, we're drawn one hundred people in my hometown and when this is our record and somebody if they get him on the phone there okay there's your story you may not get him on the phone and while you're waiting to get that person on the phone, maybe you've built your audience on your own now you're doing three hundred people and it's going to do in three hundred in your hometown the guy in the next venue over you know know what cities into the say where he's from ok it doesn't matter then the next city over buyer might be talking to the club buyer in his market so if you can do it in your hometown the next step is to do it in the next town and the next time the next time in the next town okay I don't know how many towns I've been in across the world where there are music lovers but there's more than your hometown so you keep building and building and when you're talking about talking rio approaching you know one of these and are people you know do your homework be the manager find out about something the people you're talking to make sure that the person you're going to approach it the label might actually have a predisposition for you music if you're setting stuff to guy the only book seanie m actually then you're wasting your time if you were a rock been okay if you are a rock band you're sending your music to motown that there's probably a better place to spend you know to do it right so these are the kinds of things you need to be thinking about and that's when you should be doing remember it's not a singular shot that wins the war it's connecting all those dots and and and staying in the game that gets you there so back to the topic and got to be prepared to stay in it for a while here because it takes some commitments if you're expecting this all to happen by the end of summer vacation, better go ahead and that that college application in okay, don't study the music business got around man and be cheaper, right? Okay, so tio that and you mentioned packaging and presentation of that package because I've heard stories of the record labels is having stacks and stacks and stacks of demos, right? How do you how do you package and position yourself to cut through that? Is it a personal connection? Is it just persistence? Is it showing up with a bottle of wine and your demo to the record label? Is it? I mean, what can you do? Way okay, we'll start with how do you present is that in the old days? Okay, there used to be stacks of cds before that there were boxes of cassettes. Ok, I go out to various events in a way wants to hand me a cd. You know, I tell him also looked with great respect. I'm going to just be honest with you, okay? I'm fifty nine I'm in the digital world to okay the last thing I want to do the dragon a bunch of cds with me back to my my office so put a website up there where you can put a picture. You, khun, do your album cover issue on the cover of your or the front end of your web site. You can paint the picture. You want a paint, right? What would you send him in that old press? Get you to send in your bio, right? We could do that on the web, right? And he said, having a printed, if something changing, changing on the web right now, even I know a little bit of html fifty nine year old guy. Ok, khun, do that. Okay. Can you put your music up there? Sure you can. You have to worry about getting in the store. Pressing up cds. No, you put it on the web. Can you put a video up on the web? Hell, yeah. Do you want to put that shitty little video of you in some club clinking glasses? No. Better not to put that video up there. Why? Because somebody's going to come to your website one time member no mile against and they're going to get one looks it. Would you show him the c minus view of your performance? Not if you thinking you'd be better off to let them imagine what you might be like in their mind, it's okay? How many times you got on hearing a song on the radio and you've got this vision in your head of some great singer and then you got there there's some little goofy ugly and you just you know, maybe it's just me I go move she's got wow, that's not what I had in mind. So you have the ability to bring all that. Let me tell you, I'm not the only guy out there everybody is sitting in front of their computers there a few old school guys, okay? That's still like to get a cd in there? Mostly radio promo did they like to listen to it in their car on the way home? I can't remember the last time I put a cd anywhere except in the side of my mac and even then it's just to put it on itunes. But I'll tell you this, if you're going to send some to a label, don't send him an opus remember, think about here's a person that's got a thousand things going on, you need to get into their world, you got to give him a long story or short story. I'm going to give them short and sweet right on the money because the worst thing that happens, they tell me no, but go to our website, neil jacobson, a and r guy signed of each e you know robin thicke works with black eyed peas another guy aaron base shook in our guy for bruno mars watch those videos and asking what they have on their in our checklist do your homework man okay then send it off in the worst that could happen is you get to know well it takes one good yes and people have said no and come back and said yes that's it speaking of aaron base should bruno mars does that feel like a home run to you guy can write well maybe no love his music guy can perform right with the eleven or not home he's not afraid to get in on the stage is doing is thinking if he's got it all going on writes great pop songs got signed a motown records dropped ok aaron baseship don't take my word for it listen to his story took him three times to atlantic records that's not ready not ready not ready with which one of these comes to mind here not ready not ready not ready timing lighting wasn't right so they put him they match this kid you could write a song with a hip hop guy because now the hip hop worlds all of that's gone pop it's I'm going to rap about that but then there's people out there want to hear a song the melody so you put singer bruno mars that can write a melody with you forget what? You know which rap guy it was put it together now we got a little success and still have signed and bruno first one maybe a flute did it again. Another thinking hey, puts his own record out bag through the roof. Okay, timing lighting comes to mind being prepared for your moment. Staying in the game showing up those were the things determination, inspiration, determination, right has a great manager, right? And had an a and r guy himself that just wanted one. Yes, lots and our guys would have pulled in their tent never come back that one because a man they said no, but erin baschuk really believed it and kept coming back only needed one. Great yes, next question um, we have a question about so here's the question my band is currently talking to a few indie labels. They've expressed him interest, but nothing concrete has gone through yet. What can they do to like, clinch the deal or or seal the deal so that it doesn't sound like the labels like jumping on it, thinking it's a great opportunity give you another steve renny ism, right? The on ly interested matters is interest in your bank account in the music business you're talking about a whole industry goes hey love you, babe let's do lunch I love it man I love it you know I'm feeling it man I'm feeling it right here's steve rennie's world again here's the answers I want yes or no I love it is that you love it so much you want to say yes or you love it so much but you can't say yes okay so here's the one that everybody loves to hang on to maybe maybe but what the heck is maybe going to give you know it maybe is maybe is a show stopper okay because maybe freezes you it stops you from looking for yes or no one of the two only actionable items yes and no maybes a copout maybe he's a hedge maybes bullshit okay, so if they on their way to say no I'm not suggesting he does but I've done this a million times when I'm sniffin know and somebody won't say I put the words in your mouth and make him spit out yes you don't really want to do this man I understand if you don't do well you know my boss but being about a boom boom you know I'm sorry so people go that's negative no you've got to understand we're mining for yes reminding for no the grisly veterans aren't interested in maybe I'm not interested why I'm interested what the hell is interested he you either in or you're not but make it personal don't burn bridges I just told you about bruno mars got passed on three times to be turned into a litle putts and got bitter about it he would have bumps somebody out. Why? Because he would have turned personal sideways they gotta like that guy personally, right? So you got to keep coming back, but if they have some real interest, what he's got to do is keep doing what they're doing right keep making the music and doing the things that got them some interest because sometimes interest is riel, but people are working at labels where they have to have politics and that you have other people sign off on lots of people in the music business will come out like they're the sheriff when really they're barney fight. Okay, you guys are you know what I'm talking about here? You know what sets you? Andy griffith, the any was a share. Barney was the deputy. Barney had a gun, but you didn't have a bullet because then you kept the bullet, so think of it are guys that way he might have the gun, but he might not have the bullet you at the end of day if your manager you looking for the guy with the bullet, okay? And so to your friend, just keep doing what he's doing, but I'll tell you this, don't be just talk in the indies because you feel comfortable that that's the level of the game you think you're you feel comfortable at because I haven't met an artist in my life that was on an indie label okay that went to a major when I've asked so would you rather be on a major or in indy they all say the major why? Because when you're trying to have a career it's not about love it's about money it's about infrastructure it's about people it's a war okay it's not a love affair this is like we're going to battle here I don't need to like I need to know that you're bringing everything with you that can help us win the war so the indie labels or good start but for may and I say it's all these any kids you want the biggest, baddest, most experience most well funded partner you can get your hands on that which was that that's picking your partners again start with the ones that you'd want to be with ask for the s aspirin the no and then work your way down we keep doing what you're doing sounds good um rick says I think my biggest issue is to start thinking like a business person not just an artist greatwood is that a question? Well I think that's I think he wants you to maybe elaborate okay and like how to make that transition from an artist gentleman in the control room bring me up that slide for the red man. You course, please, we're getting good. We can't stop now. You guys are getting in a groove back. There was that thing could be your career is a business. We did a whole segment on this because I think it is such an important point that he brings up there and I just got an email here on the break from somebody says man, I finally figured this out ran man, I'm an artist, but it occurs to me that I need to think about my career is a business and I sent him back and they're going to do it nice. Yes, I agree, I think it was my idea, but it is like the moon, the replay but he's, right? So treating your career is a business is hugely important, right? Because we talked about making the music's the easy part, right? That's the inspiration, the calculation is how to turn it into a business, right? So why wouldn't you think about it? This is a real business. You have to think about your product, ok? First day you designed this great product I have this great product and it works great I think it's great it looks great and all my friends tell me it's great well you gotta put it out there in the real world so if your product is on plan shows and you've got fifty people coming the next time you do a show you got twenty instead of seventy five and you keep doing that you have to sit there and ask yourself is the product where it needs to be no may be of great product and you have crappy promotion or crappy distribution are you priced it to other other factors in there but if you've addressed those issues and you're still not making any product you got to ask yourself is that product worthwhile right? In any business in the world you have to worry about financing right that's what the tea financial up now you're the manager of the chief financial officer to how my going to fund our product development how am I going to fund our marketing and promotion? How am I going to pay for the people that are going to help me do this? Because if it's worth doing it's probably a bigger job than one person so you need to think about that when you're thinking about who those people are you going to get somebody to manage your business? That's the ceo for a bandits the manager, if you're the band without imagine it's you okay? So thinking like an entrepreneur which is at the core of that lesson here is important and I'm stoked to hear you say that because most artists think that's not my thing that's your job, steve, you do that stuff, right? Which is fine if you haven't have a steve renny or pat magna relatives somebody around but you will only get those people in my opinion by treating your career is a business in building it up to the level where you are attracting great talent to help you join it in quote unquote sometimes hear this take it to the next level. Okay, so he needs to keep doing. My advice is you go check out treating your career is a business, listen to the whole thing and you'll get some thoughts about it. But it's all stuff you already know the awakening is yes, you have to treat it like a business and that's the business part of it. The music side gotta have great songs. God have great performance, okay? Because my friend said you can't policy turn into a diamond that's, right? Mitch says the biggest problem is at least here in mexico is too hard to get paid by the club owners. They think that they make us the band a favor for plant I think that's a translation thinking but basically they're doing the band a favor by letting him play in the club and they can't get a gig eight out of ten clubs won't pay their bands they say yeah ok I'm going to get into some tricky international relations but I was reading the paper yesterday which I do every day and I would recommend for all you musicians and I read a story about a boy mexican ban that wound up dead okay and and there's all kinds of funny business that goes on down there in mexico with some of the no no the club's he's talking about involved in the car telling stuff but that is, um a tricky one um and I'm not sure I have an answer for that because it it's it's something specific I think t mexico so at the risk of really bumming everybody in mexico if you really have something great going on you might want to think about moving somewhere else because if it's true that eight out of ten clubs are going to pay you then you think about it like a business than that never has a chance to turn into a business because if I tell you that's where the money is and in mexico that isn't where the money is the next thought that comes to mind is me you know, go where the money is right that's horrible and sounds flip but I'm not trying to be flip but it's a problem okay, in reality is bigger than all of this so if that's true um you got to go somewhere else latin america is a big, big world down there, right? And I know there are countries that do pay a I've been to a few of them we've gotten paid in mexico, but we're not playing clubs question for our friend here I'm curious. What are your thoughts on busking? It was funny I could make the case um that lots of indie artists are busking they're just not doing in the subway in london, you know, they're they're out there trying to make an impact, right? And, uh but it's funny and you go to places like london, which has a healthy busking community down in the subways, aaron in times square when you see the guy on the plastic things making noise in there, they're performing right? And so I think some of the skills that you learn there, how to get people's attention as they're passing by and everything would probably serve you well, right um but busking might be the first step on polishing your show and getting to the next level and nobody starts at the top, so if there's other sides of it did that there you know, asking for the money they're asking for the yeses on some levels. I really like that, you know? But there was an act that it called the qin from australia, who terrific two brothers on this other guy who resigned. Teo, I think it's alec, the kid, the producer, alex kids label and they started off came josh from australia to american were busking a lot, and so these guys have incredible balls to go out and do stuff, right? They'll walk into the crowd, no microphones and starts saying, and they're absolutely fearless right performers, but you can't make any money doing that, but it does actually, just it actually just puts. I love the head space of it as long as it's a step to somewhere else. If it's, somebody looks like the homeless guy that doesn't want to talk to people and that's, all they ever wanna deal, you know, knock yourself out. But I don't think it's a career move.

Class Description

Breaking into the music industry is the dream you share with pretty much everyone else on the planet. And there is a whole infrastructure designed to keep you out. But you don’t have to obey the gatekeepers. Steve Rennie is here to show you how to carve your own path to success.

With over 30 years in the music business as a concert promoter and former manager of platinum-selling rock band Incubus, Steve draws on his experience to coach and mentor the next generation of artists and music pros. In Dream it, Do it: Breaking Into The Music Industry, Steve is going let you in on what it takes to get your foot in the door and where to go from there. You’ll learn how to find a way over, around, or through anybody, or anything standing in your way. You’ll get straight-shooter insight on what separates winners from losers to how to strike when the iron is hot.

Talent is common, but having what it takes to make it in the music biz is an entirely different set of skills. Steve is here to teach them to you.

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Hands down the best music course I've ever seen. I couldn't have asked for a better "realistic" explanation of how the music industry really works. The analogies and stories were awesome! Thank you to Steve Rennie and the CreativeLive team for an awesome production, straight teamwork! -SkyPoint

a Creativelive Student

Awesome, hope to see more in the future.

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