Ben Folds. Thank you for the inspiration to get the f* out of my basement.

Today I was listening to the audiobook of Ari Herstand’s book How To Make It in the New Music Business and I almost jumped out of my chair at a quote he had from Ben Folds. Actually… no I did jump out of my chair, except I was driving and the chair had a steering wheel in front of me and…. well anyways here’s the quote:

FUCKING NAILS IT. Book after book, page after page, trying to figure out a trend between the groups of people that progress toward their dreams, and Continue reading

Happy accidents: Unplanned revelations of what appear to be universal patterns for accomplishing any goal

There are two things you can do in life ever, you can either work towards goals you have, or you don’t. I’m going to ignore the latter and talk about what it takes to work towards a goal. I started reading thousands of pages of books to hunt down exactly what it takes to make someone achieve a goal, no matter how big that goal may be. I focus a lot on the entertainment industry, because it’s my passion, but my research took me in to many many sectors other than entertainment. The pursuit of this, which started after I read the book The Slight Edge, since then I’ve been all over the map:

  1. Baseball (Moneyball)
  2. Entrepreneurship (Crossing the Chasm, Positioning, The 80/20 principle, Nail it then Scale It, The Personal MBA)
  3. Habits of successful people/principles of success (Mastery, Good to Great, The 10X Rule, The Slight Edge, Outliers)
  4. Zen and motorcycle maintenance which ended up being a provocative thought bender on the concept of quality, and what it is
  5. Investment strategies (A Random Walk Down Wall Street, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor)
  6. Autobiographies (Born a Crime)
  7. The Olympics in Nazi Germany (The Boys in the Boat)
  8. Buddhism/Mindfulness (Mindfulness in Plain English, The Practicing Mind, 10% Happier, The Buddha Walks into a Bar)
  9. Traits of leadership (Leaders eat Last, Start with Why)
  10. and even a sci-fi/western/time-travelling/magic casting 7 volume adventure

The craziest part about all of these books is that all of these, in one way or another, have given me chips, chunks, parts and pieces of an extremely big picture puzzle I didn’t ever expect to stumble on. That’s still boggling me now, that I never expected to find these patterns, they just kept showing up as I continued researching about these topics. What was most interesting, they seem to apply no matter what the specific topic is.  Continue reading

What is the missing link to bridge entertainment from a hobby, to a making a living? I think I finally found it.

Opening thought: Maybe it’s time for someone to redefine art. Bridge the gap between art, product, and progress, as a society.

Art redefined? Now there’s an interesting thought. What is it to create art? Recently I’ve realized myself that art… is…. progress (I could, and I likely will, get into a whole blog about that by itself, but for now I’ll keep it short). It is the very definition of progress, in my eyes. Realizing this, I found it to be the redefinition I’ve been looking for. But how do I make a living off of this? What am I doing wrong?! Why haven’t I gotten it yet? Well… what I believe to be part of the answer, was elusive, but the simplicity was astounding. I’m not treating it like a business, if I want to make money, treating it like a business is how it’s done. Period. End of story (except not). Now that I realized that simple truth, how on earth do I motivate to do all the stuff that has nothing directly to do with the stuff I love?!

I start thinking to myself “Well, all I love doing is making music and performing music, I don’t want to learn the business stuff, I don’t want to do any of the other stuff, just music and perform”. And the more I learned about that, the more I realized I couldn’t be any more wrong in by not wanting to learn about business, but WHY was I reluctant? Because I would feel like a sellout? Because the business side is a drag? Because the that side does nothing for my creative side? Will I be seen as not a true artist? AHHH! (Head explodes!) Then, Randall happened. In two sentences he blew my mind. Continue reading

What do you do when you feel like you can’t go on in the entertainment industry?

Well, we’ve all been at this point. I’m currently here, upon the time of writing this. It’s got me thinking about how Sisyphean the entertainment entire industry is. Constantly feeling like this conversation is happening, over and over:

“I love performing! I just want to play live as much as possible, I love to entertain people”

or

“I want to be creative, and I want my art to be heard/seen/enjoyed around the world!”

or

“I want to fund my life with my craft”

To which, life seems to repeatedly say “Oh yeah? Fuck you. Go back where you came from, and give up. Sell your guitar on ebay, and go do something ‘useful’ in society.”

Continue reading

How to get your song on the radio. [Part 2]

Picking up where Part 1 left off, so now what?

Part 1 might have inspired some despair, but after much research and thought into the whole matter, and more discussion with folks on the radio side of things, I’ve come up with a list of ideas to help you out, at least hopefully get a starting point, in your quest for radio airplay.

While mainstream radio will be the biggest challenge, kind of like the end boss in a way, these are other ways to get your songs heard en masse, and to help get that name recognition I spoke of in Part 1.

Drumroll……………… Here’s some ideas:

Continue reading

How to get your song on the radio. [Part 1]

You can’t.

OK OK you CAN! But it won’t be immediately anyways, and not to mainstream radio. Also, if you think you can buy your way in via payola, it has become a huge gray area and it’s best avoided if possible, not to mention you’d need more money than you’d ever imagine, best to keep it ethical. The way to get your song on the radio is to generate enough traction on your brand that you’re song would generate more listenership for the radio station than the A-listers. Your song is an ad for radio station ratings, and they know it. Your music drives listeners so ads can be put on the station, so you have to bring more listeners in than A-list does.

From my personal experiences, I was in a band one time that had a pretty good album released. I took it to our local pop stations, and was then introduced to the Operations Manager eventually, because he’s one step away from the big boss, and I like going to the top. Now the way big time radio works

Continue reading

A few books that completely changed my perspective on making money in the music business

Thanks to a request from my friend and fellow entertainer Laryssa Birdseye, I’m writing this blog. I’m not going to waste any time, but about a year and a half ago I was beginning to think making money with music was hopeless, until I realized that treating my music business education the same way I treated my college degree (as something you actually have to read up on and study if you want to see any kind of progress) was when I started changing my perspective for the better about money and the music industry.

These books helped shape my current, much more optimistic perspective, and I’ll likely re-read them at some point in the not too distant future:

Continue reading