Archive for the ‘Starting Out’ Category

Episode 10 – Sharks

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Starting Out

Sharks, sharks, sharks… the music industry is full of them. We gotta know it & accept it. And… be aware! They hide behind the name of managers, producers, promoters, artists, even friends!

Let me tell you something, first thing you have to do in your artist life is to decide what way to take, once you’ve done that the next steps will be easy… I recommend you to choose the right way! Which normally is not as easy as we think, but not as difficult as we would think either. Know one thing, in the music industry there is one gold rule: THERE IS NO GUARANTEES.

So following that rule, anybody telling you they can GUARANTEE something should raise a red flag in your mind. So here you have a few scenarios that should tell you to RUN:

– You are working with a producer, but you happen to find ANOTHER producer that tells you that the producer you’re working with is too expensive, doesn’t have experience, blahblahblah… (it can come with different words after, however, the second producer is always trying to imply that he’s better than the first one) that HE can do better than that and has better contacts to get your music signed to a major record label. RIIIIGHT….

– A manager comes in BEFORE (or even while) you have something going on and tells you: “You know, for THIS MUCH money, I can get you to sign with this major record label, open up for “place-big-artist-name-here” & you will be the next big thing”. WRONG!!!!!!! Managers should always be paid by commission, you should never have to pay for them to work: you make money, they make money.

– “For this much $$$$ I can get you a sit down with the A&R for “place-big-record-label-name-here” – For what? For them to say NO? That’s if you even get to sit down with anybody from that record label, furthermore, do A&Rs exist anymore? LOL! NOOOOOPE, SCAM ALERT!!!!!!! (I’ve seen SO MANY of these)

– Promoters: “For this much money I can get your song played all over the US”. This exists even though it’s illegal, it’s called PAYOLA. It’s your call if you want to pay them… I don’t play with that

– Artists: “With your music, if we did a collaboration, it would be FIRE!”, ahaaaaaaaa… it sounds to me like you want to attach yourself to me in some way…

These are just a few of examples of the different kind of sharks you can find in the music industry. You can find them in various shapes & forms.

You HAVE TO remember:

If you had NOTHING going on nobody would be interested in attaching themselves to you and they would definitely won’t have all kind of opinions about you. They would just go with the “oh yeah, that sounds cool” thing.

So, once you’ve learnt your rounds (hopefully without making any mistake, at least any “not-fixable” mistake) & you’re working on making everything happen for yourself, don’t listen to anybody who try to discourage you or get into your pockets. Keep on doing what you’re doing and listen only to professional advice (commonly known as “entertainment attorneys”, hehe).

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Today I went to a class about taxes in Europe, yep! It may sound boring, but if you’re gonna be an artist and eventually create a brand of yourself, you have to learn tricky & boring things about taxes, benefits, losses, etc. That way you will be in total control of your finances (even if you have an accountant or somebody who helps you do your taxes).

However, it is not about taxes that I came to talk about, it is about something far more interesting than that that I see over and over. I see artists being impatience and doing the wrong moves because of that, hell! I even made that mistake with the release of “Forgive Me Now”! But I learnt guys, because I had to work double to recover from that mistake. Some artists though don’t have that luxury & we see great talent wasted because of choosing the right timing to do things. These are my advices for you not to make the same mistakes I made:

– Don’t quit your day job before you’re established as an artist or you have enough money to live doing JUST music. I also had to work in a boring job that I didn’t like to save money to do what I really wanted, go to the US and record a bad a** record!

– Don’t release songs that are not finished: You want to be seen as a professional, in this music business there should be NO DEMOS! Only between producer & artist, not to be released to the world. When your song hits the world it has to be properly recorded, mixed & mastered!

– Don’t release songs/singles before you have all that you’re gonna have recorded & ready to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single, EP or album. You should have everything COMPLETELY ready before you release anything.

– Don’t start performing songs that you have NOT for sale (I’m talking original songs, you can do covers! of course!). The important thing about performances is to reach NEW audience that go & buy your record. If your record is not for sale, you’re gonna loose the audience, since most regular people ARE NOT gonna wait until your album is out for sale, they’ll just go to the next artist. People, in general, are volatile & have a very short attention span.

I think that’s all for today! Don’t make the same mistakes I made! Be patient, it is the secret to a music artist’s success!

Today we spent most of the day at the studio recording Lorena Ares. When I got to the hotel I was surprised by a viewers’ question, that is awesome!! The question was concerning the Episode 3, about free stuff. He was offered to get his music mixed for free, but he was worried about the rights that he owned if that was done probono.

The thing is, you have to know what the other person is thinking, they might just want to do things for credits or experience. Make sure you talk about details in each deal, the same with anybody that offers their services for free. After you’ve gotten to an agreement, make sure you write a memo deal (a small contract with details) that states the parts of your agreement (no compensation upfront, rights for each of the parts, etc.).

Also, of your dealing with music being sent to a mixer/masterer, make sure you have copyrighted all the content before you send it out. You never know what people can do with your music once they have it in their hands…

Super great news about this diary, but I still cannot reveal anything. However, today we’re gonna talk about money, the eternal enemy for indie artists, right? Well, let’s be real here, you NEED some kind of money to be an artist, especially an indie one 🙂 Even if everybody worked for you pro-bono, you will still need money for some things an indie artist needs. Here is my view on the subject!

PS: I didn’t record anything at the studio, because they had a little accident & they’re trying to fix it, sorry!

 

Second day, second episode!

This ain’t gonna be like this everyday, just so you know! I was just writing a song Lorena Ares, an amazing 12 y.o. singer (check her out at http://www.lorenaares.com/, mad pipes!), and I thought I could talk about songwriting. Here you have my view! Hope you enjoy it!

PS: BTW, don’t mind my hair… I was just up to my hair to repeat cuts, so I wasn’t gonna repeat it again because that hair was sticking out. LOL!

Hello guys:

I’m so excited for this new project of mine. While I am getting everything ready for my new album release, I thought this “Diary Of An Indie Artist” would be useful for other unsigned or indie artists as myself. I would like to keep on doing videos about different aspects of being an independent artist and how to deal with different things that I (and you) might find in the way. This is my introduction, please, don’t mind the accent and my slow pace, remember English is not my main language, so I have to think everything and translate it in my mind before it actually comes out!

Let me know what you think about this new project & don’t hesitate to start asking questions and sharing some of your indie artist tips!