Money Wants an Opinion
I want to talk about money once an opinion here um as I talked about money is the key driver in any business need to have money and investment there right? And nobody succeeded at the highest levels of the music business without somebody spending a lot of money but what happens sometimes is when somebody else is spending the money you start to be very like almost entitled and you don't give it that oh wait that it deserves right so when I say that because it's important to have respect for what money can do for and how difficult it is to get in how fast it goes away right and because you will be looking for money so if if you sign with a record label okay and they're going to give you money and they have an opinion about something don't go to pieces listen to their opinion refer back to make it their ideal size be respect once up because they're putting up their dough and the real test is if you don't believe it put up your own money and ask yourself whether you do it so when you're si...
tting there is an artist when they're going I can't believe they're only giving us two hundred thousand dollars with his video budget I think that's really because I want my friend to do the baby okay great how about you do that? How much would you pay your buddy whoa, dude, now I have a vivid example is because for years is with incubus right in sonia was paying all those bills my friend brandon boy decided to put out a record and do it independently and I guarantee both he and I have a much greater appreciation for ideas and budget together. Okay, so it's easy to be dismisses of the people that are putting up the money and discount them but it's horrible practice let me give you another example you're going to go out and raise money through one of these crowd sourcing thing right? And you go go patri on pledge music, kickstarter pick your poison, right? Um those people that are giving you the money, you're giving them something in return to it that you make a pledge, I'm going to send you this and you don't take the time to go through it, you're being disrespectful of them and they want to have an opinion to might not be a financial what it'll just be make it personal for me just make me think you care, okay? Spend some time with me, ok? If you say I'm going to be at your you know I'm coming play at your house don't come up and tell me you're sick that's that that's not respectful of the money here's something else about money that people don't think about money doesn't have a conscience. It doesn't know what to dio people tell it what to dio. People decide how to spend it or not to spend it right? So when I talk about this idea of money once they have an opinion it's because it's tough to come by, but has no brains. It has no conscience. It has no direction is just money it's what you do with it? It's, what your partners do is whatthe label does, whether, but one thing is clear. You know, if somebody's putting up the money let's, even your mom and dad ok might give you some money to spend deuce. Um, but if you take your money from your mom and dad and you treat him like crap over it, you're not making them feel good. Okay, so money wants an opinion and it's important to be respectful of it. Because you'll need a friend. Record by equipment. Make videos go onto her, pay everything. It's all there let's. Talk about some of the sources. You get two from your family, maybe have personal funds, maybe it's record company. Or maybe it's, you know. And you go goes in. You know, and all those kind of those those air, the typical sources of money what you're going to need it no matter where you go, no matter who gives it there's going to be some expectation you need to respect and I'll give you some advice from my mentor, bob gettys, who said it in a very indelicate way, but I think we can say it on creative life goes ready don't piss on your bankers, but you might have to come back okay, we've got some questions streaming and releasing your music for free for new artists would you recommend it? So I think the question is if you're just starting out, you invest in your project, you have the best product you can get, do you put it out there for free? O r do you charge for it? Is there? Is there an advantage to value in your own music, I guess, and putting it's a great question, I'm going to give you some contacts back, but we're just talking about we're talking about where is the money in the record business, right? And we talked about how it used to be the big payday, but it's not the big payday today we talked a little bit early about the easiest thing to do is make the music the toughest thing to do is get people to hear it right okay so if you put those two together and the question is why should I give away my music well here's what I know the risk of giving away your music and nobody wanting to pay for it so far outweighed by the fact that nobody's ever going to hear your music okay that I would give the music away okay you know big consumer product companies okay for years have been giving away samplers back in those raging eighties you know uh you know all those dealers that were running around rock shows the first one was free the next one was a hunde you know I mean so it's it's tried and true business practice to give things away there's there's an old adage that I have if it isn't we're stealing it's not worth buying okay you know the almost kids that you know that beat somebody up for a four hundred pair dollar pyramid air jordans they weren't doing that for the jack kramer's okay so thumb has to have some value so for you for an artist is just starting out there particularly one that's just starting I say it's ok to give away your music for free but not totally free right? I said let's begin here I'm not getting paid you guys are about maybe we'll make something you know but the payday for me is I want you to be involved I want you to ask questions so the quid pro quo for that person there is hey, I'll give you my music in exchange for your email address so we can start a conversation so we can get personal okay, so we can develop a relationship so I can stay in touch with this so I can tell my story to you while I'm looking for a manager who's looking for a label who's looking for a publish he's looking for radio airplay he's looking for tv play, right? So I think in that context, giving your music away makes sense on any number of levels. In some ways, music is becoming the wallpaper to the conversation where you make the money, okay, if katy perry did make a dime on record royalties, okay? And she didn't make a dime because she didn't actually write any of those songs, which is pretty much the case. How much do you think she's make on all that other stuff? The touring huge, the product endorsements huge the makeup commerce is huge, right? The clothing line huge, you get my point, so that becomes the inducement in sadly, in some ways I wish consumers had a greater sense of value for the music, but even if they did, I'd still tell that kid the same thing until your stuff is worth something that somebody the greatest risk is that nobody hears it that's the risk it's not that people are going to get you or that they might not understand you, it's, that they won't even know you're there. Okay, period got another question. No, I was just going to comment on that that it's not the drink devaluing your music, you just value the other mona's monetization like the revenue streams. Well, those come down the line giving it away pre does and guarantee those but you won't get to those other revenue streams unless you they bite into your songs. Those great songs I took out love that song or they then they want to go see you at the gig or they're not hearing and they go to a gig and they walk in there they go. Wow! This kid's got unbelievable songs, right? So it's all about again, back to its target the top great songs great performance is easy to make it tough to get it expose and so in today's world and I would have said this years ago that's the deal right and in the old days of the record business they would sell those records into a retail outlet. They just shipped forty thousand and so on paper it looked like they sold forty thousand this model's gone, um and then they would take back thirty eight thousand in the next ship and you know what the beauty of the digital world is? I buy it goes could chink money goes in there no return done now, it's easy because I'm not buying that crap album for once I'm buying the one song, so the transaction is much more honest today. One hand and in some ways much more limited it the old model of where you get one or two songs on the record and sell him the record fifteen bucks. That was a big fan of that while it was happening. Um unlike some of my peers, I don't lament the days gone by because they mean nothing today for may, they don't put wind in my sails today, okay? I can't set sail on yesterday's breeze period you know question anthony, we got it. That's good. Maybe if you were talking medium their lunch, your good stuff. S o for somebody who releases there music for free online and, you know, has has started to make a following and, you know, got the ball rolling out. The conversation started and followed the steps with collecting email, address and all that good, you know, all the good promotion element of it. What, at what point in that conversation and dialogue and time frame, would you say that it would be timeto you know, transition tio model in which you don't give out your music for free, like when is when is the good time to pull the plug? If you will, I think, you know, uses an example out of that. It applies, you know, one hundred percent, but it's one that comes to mind and in the adm world, right. Um, derek vinson smith from pretty light, right? Um he started off making his music part of his early connection there. Way I got introduced. Ines is my young son. My oldest son said, you know, I would talk about how there was no melody and adm and it was all party no melody. And so when he goes well, here's one I want to listen and you started playing me pretty lights, right? We're pretty lights would do songs that I knew fly like an eagle, this song or that song, and they would sample that so that there was a sense of melody. There was a voice in all of that stuff. And from what I understand from derek and those early days, he gave away that stuff all the time, right? And then built, you know, that started to get some viral people started passing because you're adm world these your folks loved you know, my kids are in the example they love find there are there on mission to get on to the next one, right? And you unite talk to sometimes that might shorten the life span, but in any event on this last record they're vincent smith, they actually charge money for right and there was a whole campaign they did to kind of explain why he was doing he put it in a great package and he tried to ada's much personal value into that equation is possible because this time around, instead of of just making music on his own, he hired riel musicians in went down to new orleans and went to nashville and you know, if you've been watching the you'd love it one of the this old blues you know, country guy, you know that watching the dialogue between these guys in this kid derek vincent smith whose by his own admission kind of plays bass but he's more of a guy that understands sounds and I put it together, him talking these musicians and like full house got this written down, you know, it's kind of like give me one of these anyway long story short, he put that record together, they they went out and sold don't know how many they sold, but they spent a lot of energy and trying to build some value beyond just music but his big payday is those live gigs right? And uh and so he transitioned to it um and just understand when the biggest record in the country sales two point three million you know it's e don't know if we ever see a record that sells twenty million copies jesus christ adele got everything you could get right in a million years and she sold six million seven million american probably that amount in war around the world but she went off and had a baby we haven't seen her lately and nothing's come close sense but if you took a dell out of the equation, everything was in the records top out of two million now they've grown the proof fighters did everything right you could do is a rock band right grammys this that sold out tour is that I don't know if they ever got to a million records my friends and incomes had two in a row that did three point two million in the treats of the matter is I shouldn't say this but in the big scheme of the record business and that was a solid b b plus love him but it was b b plus wasn't an a plus, you know, but now it's tough to get there so anyway, any other questions that's good, I just had a question about we're getting a few questions about where to put money initially, so assume you have your new artist, you have ten grand, twenty grand. Do you put all of that in your project? Like into the recording and having a really, really good product? Like where do you where do you parse that out so that you have some tio do some pro most for hire a manager or go do cem break even touring here's what I'm gonna tell you don't hire a manager if you can't get somebody to believe and read my lips now here's a real manager I work for percentage no money for, you know, money for may period, okay, the hiring manager that's hedging its crap in the paul mcguinness didn't get a salary, you know ray daniels didn't get a salary, jeff quite as didn't get a salary. Irving azoff didn't get a salad. Ok, the big boys that the big gals, right? They get a percentage, so don't hire a manager. If I had ten thousand I was counseling a young band today I would sit there. Go let's, go and make is greater. Music is you can make ok. And let me just say this this idea of the album you're coming from a guy that grew up on albums okay, listen to album rock radio, okay? I don't know that the album is relevant anymore, okay? I'll tell you why because in the old days and today it's, true as well, you would put ten or twelve songs on the record, spend all that money, and I know the two studio operators going to hate me for his in is right and you're gonna get judged on the first saw. Maybe if you got a big time manager, he's got great skills it making it your idea and getting the money and making it personal and being a man dog and you might get two swings of the bat and then you're done okay, so all the money spent recording those extra ten songs is wasted for sure. So today, if you had an x amount of money, I might sit there with a band, say, ok, we want to make it out. I'm going to go, ok, good, you guys, how many songs we got on that out way got fifteen. All right, great, I want you to record the best one first. I gotta get the first one done first, right? And then maybe we got and we talked to some kid and we go out to sammy's for one hundred twenty five. We got some kid that's got some artistic vision and you're gonna make a great video that properly represents you in the best possible way write the same thing a record company would do right? And you make a little video there, I think given my experience e I might then go and take some of that money and spend it on a youtube someplace like that where you can at least be putting your image in that song out there because here's, the great thing about the world we live in today everybody talks about streaming services and radio everything else. My kids don't listen to radio anymore. They listen to everything on youtube so you can get your song out to the world, not just the local market. This mike, that kid in east africa I told get a great song if you gotta bands got great performers, get some kids to capture it and just put it on the web put it on your website well, no one's going to come to my web site that's your storefront, okay, so you're looking about things to spend it on and you think about your bit your career is the business in the old world, you'd build actual rent a place and you put your hang your door, but today there's business and really don't have physical storm and so that's, where I would spend some money, spend it on a song or two, even the big labels or doing e p s all the time. Now imagine dragons biggest sprock success story of the last year started off with an e p and then the song that was the biggest song on the record was on the e p but how come it wasn't a hit? Right? Then we're going to talk about that in this next segment's called timing and lighting is everything okay? But they did an e p group love another, you know, their manager really sharp guy check out nicky burger. When you talk about f the gatekeepers, he just woke up one day side. He was going to be a manager, right? And he's going to college. He was the guys of the record company for a group. Love had his class schedule on there because they had to work in a way. But anyway, group love got together. They wrote some songs. And if you know the story great, but if you know it's great story, they friends got together on a whim they just met up we started making some music's like a freaking fairy tale right they got back to l a they decided you know the drummer this kid ryan rehman trojan fight on was a producer his dad was trevor raben he was the guitar player and yes big time record producer on top of it goes and produces is three songs on the demo nicky heard the demo and said I got to manage this band so bottom line is they put that e p up that I think colors was the song and it caught on they made a clever little video where they get the money there because they've been in different bands they had friends so they raise seventy five hundred bucks on kickstarter they found a young video director how did they find the video director? His name is jordan baixada another you know usc trojan he was ryan ravens roommate who played in the tape and so they went out made a great video and that launched their career and then they got signed to a regular record label deal that started get start off bp then made the record now they're on their second record they have the start of a real career right so that's those air riel examples of how it's done so if you had ten grand right don't spend your money on a publicist I get this one all time because publicist need a story they need a hook they need some so well and kids go well I got a great back story on this I'm a farmer I got nobody gives a shit about your backstory man okay to skip that that's you that's amused by that what they want are you on tour you selling tickets did you do something outrageous and kooky? I mean people need stories because public has got to cut through all the clutter to everybody's got a story right? So spend your money on great songs try to capture a great performance visually and make sure it's the best look possible don't kids out there don't take a video with one camera of you on some gig you're live gig with glasses clinking on and put dad up is your performance video because it blows you know I could impress anybody with that okay if you want to go do that at least find a way to get three cameras so you have one kid coming up right behind you and just going to get in that little moment and everybody will hate him but you'll be getting it because nobody's in the venue anyway right so do the magic man and by the way I'm not a video director but you go on youtube and see if you can see great presentation and you can do it for not a lot of money but it has to be a triumph of imagination over budget and to make it happen you'll probably need a little that to heck with the gatekeeper mentality I'm going make it happen next question so I'm writing from ecuador south america, ladainian thie u s and u k have music industry at least tow work with he says what about countries like mine? They don't have a real established obviously the internets they're right but what would be good advice for somebody like that? Let me ask you a question on up we get it does he write songs in english? I converted into spanish, right? I've spent a lot of time down in south america and and it's interesting tons of music lovers in south america okay, not tons of record buyers how do I know that um before income has ever played a show down in south american, I'll mention income is but I know it's true with other bands with other managers, I've been in touch the same phenomenon, right? I'm getting a bunch of e mails from chile on some incubus online website I usedto go on all the chat rooms not go out to be friendly and be personal, but I'm also a little re kind and they're just trying to figure out what people out and I wanted to have some access for people, so I started getting a ton of e mails disproportionate teo the amount of people on chile you got to come to show you got to come to chile we want up firing one of our agents because they couldn't get us a gig down there and I said hey look tough I think this is too much I'm telling I'm so punch line is we check our record sales which is what I would done america check your air play check your records they'll see if there is a market today right and nothing we'd sold eighteen hundred records in the whole of chile right so finally get a new agent promoter okay we'll offer you action it was way below what our number was but I thought ok but I thought in that interesting we sold eighteen hundred record and this guy's making us an offer for the santiago arena which is fourteen thousand people right so I told the guys look we only ever go down there once we talked about going down there I don't know if this thing is going to do two thousand I am honestly I guess I have no freaking idea okay but let's do this punchline is things sells out the month six months before the gig right we wound up selling another fourteenth as we did to punch line is there is a market for music out there but it's not record selling mark so for this young guy here this in a band in ecuador right he said, we can write in english, ok, good, but I say that because there's a big, healthy, you know, market of latin people around the world, they don't give a crap about english that you can work with. The issue he's facing is that there are music centers in the world, ok? And whether you have to live in one or not is debatable, but I know for sony and and true for a lot of the major labels, their connection to south america happens to be through miami, okay, that's kind of like the hub to latin america. When you go down there is a manager, they have affiliates in all those markets, but it doesn't come close to what you're used to here. So what he's got is an infrastructure issue out there that he may not be able to solve on his own. But if he's writing great songs and he's got great performances, those videos can reach people in those major markets, right? It would help him if he started trying to find the players that can make that connection. So if there is a band from south american that's managed to to to make the jump that he's looking to dio again go back and find the people that are winning go back and read the bio figure out what part of the message that they got right that you're missing okay but if you don't have great songs and you don't have great performs, it won't matter but if you d'oh then you've got to find a way to get to the people in those places and ultimately you may have to move and I said I always whisper when I say this because up and in your whole life and so forth is it's that's traumatic it's crazy but in the business world lots of people have moved their whole family to take a better job somewhere else that's life okay, easy for me to say I grew up in l a okay but there were plenty of bands here in seattle okay, I can think of a few that didn't move tol a that still don't live in l a pearl jam's all those guys were still living up here and he was san diego but they managed to connect but they had somebody go to the places and make the connection so it's just the nature of the beast south america runs through miami my experience with sony in some of the big labels and you've got to find a way to connect to keep writing great songs and in the meantime do what we talked about with that guy with ten thousand take the initiative, put your best foot forward, do that all the things that you think a record company would do that you're obviously not going to have money to do find a way I don't know if they have a local music program on the stations that are playing the records that you like down in south america. But I do though this income has never got in the air plant south american we have, you know, for the last seven, eight years. Oh, I can tell you, is the money down there if you get it right in the level of enthusiasm for music in south america is off the freakin hook. And I said it to every man's, every band I talkto us talking nate ruess from fund against you have been the south, you know, I've never really been doing there's a dude. You gotta pack your but we like too nice. Dude. Pack your bags. You're going to be blown away at the reception. You'd be blown away at the money, but more than anything and these kids down there they freaking love the music, man. They're so happy to see that it's not like a bunch of american kids, and feel like their entire, like, showing your stuff it's. Not like that. They're waiting for you at the airports. They're waiting for you in the lobby of the hotel, it is off the hook.