Loren Weisman, author of The Artist's Guide to Success in the Music Business, discusses how to make it in the age of social media.
David Norton: Hey everybody, this is David Scott Norton. This is the local music podcast. Thank you for joining us. Today, I have with me Loren Weisman. Loren is the author of The Artist’s Guide To Success In The Music Business. He's a senior brand strategist at Create Wealth Communities. He’s stayed up to date with a constant changes inside and outside the entertainment industries over the past two decades as well as keeping up with the pulse and motion of content creation, marketing promotion, and social media trends. Thank you for joining us Loren. It's really good to have you
Loren Weisman: Thanks. Good to talk to you, David.
David: So I have first was introduced to you from your book, The Artist’s Guide To Success in the Music Business, as I started getting into music. Other than it didn't know what I was doing. I kind of got in late like in my 30s, and I found your book online and on Audible and I listened to that and then I liked it so much I went ahead and bought it. For people listening, tell us about you know, the the premise of the book, why you created it, and what’s it do for people in your words?
Loren: Well, I had a number of people saying you should write a book and I think we've all heard “You should write a book. You should write a book” and I spent the bulk of my career as a ghost drummer and a session guy and experienced a lot more behind the scene than being in a single band or only a couple bands and it was around it was 2009 or 2008 when a friend of mine said, “You have a wider view of the industry than I think you realize,” and I done a little bit of Consulting. I wasn't calling it consulting. I was just talking to bands and record labels and producers in between, you know working time and slowly it felt natural. So I started to pen the First Edition which was a lot of fun. It was a cool test, but the Second Edition is the one I'm most proud of and to me it represents a book that says, “Whether you're a startup you have millions of dollars behind you and everywhere in between, there are avenues in here to look at.” And we saw it from it helping a small high school band to established, you know pop stars from the 80s that are reinvigorating their career and everywhere in between and it's not that everyone's going to learn everything from it. But I stayed away from the motivation. I stayed away from the excess of inspiration ‘you can do it’. I'm not trying to be mean or pessimistic, but in a lot of ways you can't do it and you can allow yourself to get in the way so my stories and the way I formatted in the book a lot of it was more focused on the business because that's [unintelligible] aren't as focused and it's not about getting a manager. It's not about getting a record label. It's not about getting financing. It’s educating yourself so you can build the right foundation that's protected. So regardless of an investor, a manager, an agent, an investor, you have the control moving forward to make the most off of what you have
David: Right. I mean what I like about it is it really breaks it down step by step. I was around music as a kid. My dad played music, my brother played music, and local bands, but as far as the industry as far as the mechanics of putting a band together putting a show together. I had no idea. I was just wing it, and I noticed that this lays it out step by step. It's like from from the smallest venue to the largest, you know, if you want to go play someplace, you have charts, you have information on how to set up your structure. How did you learn all this stuff? Aside from being a session drummer, what was your experience in the music industry?
Loren: Well my ongoing joke is I'm credited, it depends who you ask, from somewhere between 700 to 1300 albums. I think it's much closer to 700 myself. Certain samples and whatnot were used. But as opposed to the number of albums, it turned into the people that I played with the people that I learned from. I watched managers. I watched Agents. I watched investors. I watched producers, studios, egos, humility, you know anger and in that and in the experience of knowing what it felt like to be in the back of a beautifully clean tour bus to being in the back of a VW. It was a much wider array of experiences that allowed me the knowledge that I have to share. Not just from oh, well you do this and then you do that. With all with all due respect to Dave Grohl. He's a great guy. You know, caffeine freak, incredibly talented, but when he starts sharing about how the music business works, he really has no idea. He has a perception of what he experienced in the linear way that very quickly rose him to stardom. So I have problems when it's guys cats like Grohl and David Byrne from The Talking Heads explaining how the music business works, how social media works when both of them were famous, had made money, and experienced the success prior to that time. So the all these ideas and everything I came from was some of it was the best case scenario, but some of it was the worst case scenario. I've experienced a tour that just got dropped in the middle of Cleveland, Ohio and I didn't have a way to go home. I went from being in a beautiful Hyatt Hotel one night to living in my car the next night. I mean, it's it's more the experience of what happened. How did this happen? How do I make it happen again? Or how do I make sure this never happens again? And then seeing again, it's the ego. It's the pulse. It's more the personalities. Even what I do. [unintelligible] - outside of music, it's more from my experience in learning from some success thing. Oh, this is this album went platinum. Okay. Well oftentimes we can look at that. We can see what the marketing money went, we can see where the story went, we can see how the brand did to get it there. It wasn't necessarily the music. I don't want people to take away from that. It’s like play your music. Understand the heart of it, but learn the business of it to get that music into as many places as possible to allow you to make more. It's not selling out, it's buying in to protecting yourself and creating the most revenues possible so you can make more and more music and not feel the stress of a day job. I mean, you know success does not have to mean a Grammy
David: Right, right. So where was this? Where did you where did you start being a session drummer? And what city was that in?
Loren: I'm from Massachusetts, originally. I went out to Berklee College of Music and ended up dropping out. The old joke is if you drop out of Berkeley, you'll become a musician. If you graduate you'll be a professor. I had started to do sessions up and down New England and then I went out to Syracuse and then I started going down into Hartford and New York City. I met a producer who told me he goes, “you're tall, hairy, and scary. You're never going to be a rock star. But if you want to play with some of them, let me explain something,” and he simply started explain to me how Ringo Starr wasn't the drummer on all the Beatles stuff and at the time I was 18 I was shocked. They said, “This is what a nondisclosure agreement is. This is a confidentiality agreement. You seem like you have a level head. If I can bring you in here and you can perform, you can follow, and not tell anyone that you did, you can do very well in this industry.” And so I signed my first NDA and confidentiality agreement. I went and cleaned up a boy band track. It was a lot of fun. It was more money than I'd ever seen, and I began to get the word out that I could keep my mouth shut I could get the work done. And that's where my career started in session. I wasn't pretty enough to be a rock star.
David: So I guess the NDA kind of brings up a good point. With our last guest I had talked about an NDA. He was a DJ and he had signed a non-compete. They thrust in front of him after he got the job. He told me he couldn't play anywhere. He couldn't be a DJ anywhere for six years or something crazy like that. What is your advice for people on reviewing an NDA, seeing what the terms are, giving it any type of pushback on what the terms are? What's your experience with that?
Loren: My Create Wealth Communities NDA is seven pages. I mean when I send that to people, you know. An NDA, the best thing to do is read through it very clearly. If there's anything that you don't understand, look it up online. We have a problem right now in this society where people sign a contract and then say, “Oh, this is unfair.”
Loren: Sometimes an NDA has a Confidentiality Clause. Sometimes an NDA has a non-compete clause. It again becomes intention versus perception. The most successful musicians today can look at the viewpoint from the art and then go to the right side of the capitalism the left and right side brains that are working simultaneously allow for better success. Say I was a hotel and I was going to hire a certain DJ. And I was going to put a whole bunch of money into this DJ and help them with this set and help them with their brand and their advertising and make them a cornerstone of a given room 3 4 whatever nights a week. I would absolutely set them up with a non-compete. X number of miles out they can do performances, but I want to protect my business and that's fair. Now as a DJ, if that's not enough money or if you need to do something more local that means either renegotiating a non-compete clause or not doing it. We have to look a little deeper. You hear all this excitement. “I want to do this I want to do that. I'll just do that. Just sign this.” A lot of these people that come up saying “my record contract’s unfair.” Maybe it is but you agreed to it. One of the first mistakes I made, one of the first recording contracts I signed, there was Cash in front of me and my father was a lawyer. I didn't take it back to him. And so when I found out that I had certain non-compete issues, when I found out I had certain money issues, when I found out I had to be - actually had to use another name for a while in the studio. That was all my doing and [my failure in] doing my own due diligence. Artist’s today from the non-disclosure and the non-compete to the confidentiality, they have to take responsibility. And if there's something just seems a little unclear look it up online or contact a lawyer.
David: It seems to me like a lot of people will sign these agreements because they don't have another choice because there they need the money. They're so focused on getting the gig or getting the job that they'll sign away anything. What I found is, you know, you got to get yourself in order first, and a lot of people don't. Especially I think young people focusing on themselves, getting yourself on a solid footing may mean having a job first and having yourself stable and then going out and getting yourself in a position where you’re getting offers from from from companies.
Loren: It's very true. It's unfortunate that they don't have that wider scope. And that was one of the reasons that I wrote the book, and it still does sell. The book’s five years old, but you know, it still has its place in the industry today. It's the same stuff on the same concepts from connections, to learning your craft, to looking at contracts. I mean, it does feel like okay. I need this so bad. I need this so bad. But it's breathing for two seconds and going okay, here's the amount of money that's going to take you through the next three months or six months. Now how tied in are you that you will, in a sense, destroy an entire career? Because right now you got to drink a little water. You got to get a little bit of money. I mean was the same thing. We used to stay in these really nice hotels. We had a road manager that would say, “Look, I can book you guys Red Roof Inn. I can book you guys Motel 6.” We were like, “why do we want to stay there?” And he would show us the numbers he would scratch it out on the back of a piece of music paper. He goes, “Okay. We have the money for you to stand Hyatt. Here's a Hyatt room. Here's room service. Here's this, here's this, here's this, here's the interest that's going to accrue on that. Here's what has to be paid back to the label. Then you'll see profits from touring. Or we can stay at a Motel 6. We can run through Choice Hotels. We can look at opportunities where we can find cities where we might know people where you can crash on couches and your sooner to profit.” I’ve watched bands go overseas, make half a million dollars in revenue. If it was a well-put-together deal, they all could have walked with 60 after taxes. Like a four-person band could have walked with fifty five sixty thousand dollars. That's better than some people do in a year. But they had away so much, took so many advances, spent so much they each got off the tour. They went home. They each had three thousand dollars. They all were bankrupt after a successful tour.
David: Right. So, you know, that's for the bigger - the touring artist. It seems, as a local musician, you could do just as well. Making $3,000 as a local musician seems like it's not unachievable. What in what in your book or what advice would you give to people who don't want to go on those tours, who just want to have success just in the local music scene. How do they approach that? What's your book have for them?
Loren: The local music scene is I mean, it's a beautiful thing and it's a sustainable thing. Again, it asks you what is success to you? I know some people that view success is $55,000 a year, dental, life, and medical insurance. They had that, to them that's the kind of lifestyle that they want to live. Now, we can't view a success as a Grammy, as millions. And from a local standpoint, it's making a plan of going, “Okay, I want to play this range of places. I only want to travel this far every few months. In the meantime, I'm going to license songs.” I mean the local musicians that get involved with their local news networks, that get involved with their local advertising agencies, their local marketing agencies, and saying, “hey, I'll pen, write, or even record and produce this lawyer’s commercial - this restaurant commercial. Hey, everybody, can I can create you a theme song for a bar?” I mean it it comes down to the creativity. It's not just walking in somewhere and going. Well, I'm a musician. It's giving them the thoughts and the opportunities that people may not realize are there. There are a lot of people all around the world that do very well in local markets that people have never heard of and they specifically say, “okay I'm going to do licensing. I'm going to do publishing. I'm going to help ad firms, marketing firms, branding firms, with local business jingles or ads at the same time. I mean these lead-ins there's a lot of opportunity in the local market. But again, it's clearly defining and saying, okay. this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to wake up in the morning and I know you love to practice and play all day. And if you if that's your thing then cut your day in half with a day job or cut the practice in half and say I'm going to do my practicing I'm do my playing but I'm going to look at what whatever opportunity is available is out there and even if I see a no from Jackson and Jackson Law Firm, I'm going to hit these people the next day and I'm going to continue to get known around the area and in you know, local counties in how financially revenues can be created because it is possible. It is plausible. Just a lot of people they get, you know clouded by The Dream.
David: Right, it seems people think - I run into a lot of musicians or you see a lot of it online. Where a band, you know, they post this meme about how they spend x amount of dollars in equipment and load it into a car to go make $50. Financially they’re thinking very linear and thinking, you know, I've made this much investment. I put this much time in my music and the gig only pays me a hundred bucks - 200 bucks. It seems like you can be more successful in the local music industry if you branch out - if you take your every opportunity.
Loren: It's also asking questions. The passiveness and the average artist that says, “well, I'm going to go to this club or this venue or this restaurant, and man, they're only paying me X. That's passive. That's weak. That's submissive. I'm not trying to be mean to the artists and listeners here. Now to flip the switch and state, “How can I market this place? How could I go to this place and say what's a really good night for you? What's an excellent Saturday night for you where it's just an average. Once we hit this mark, can we start seeing this percentage of profit or this percentage of the bar as well?” That's a very common thing that was used a lot in the 80's 90's. It's still used today. People kind of stepped away from it, but allowing the artist to take a little greater responsibility for the show and not just seeing the venue as a venue can allow them that much more of an opportunity to go to that place, to be the easiest band to book, to make sure to - you know if it's a restaurant, list off the drink specials of the food specials. Be that person. This comes to the intention versus perception and the two sides of it where you in a sense are representing and working alongside that venue and that venue wants to make you happier than the 99% of musicians that just come in there, you know grandstand around taking their greatest gift to music and are rarely invited back if ever. Yeah, you know what, you're going to make your 50 bucks. That's that's all you're going to see. I can look at an album and say, “Well this is a priceless amount of my time,” or “I gave all of my heart to that,” but our viewed value is different when we stand out there. We look at the value for anybody else in any of these businesses. It's not reducing the art. It's connecting the art to business. The people that do that - the smallest venues to the largest, they see more opportunities and they make a lot more money.
David: Exactly. Yeah, and I think that is something people need to do and I try to do when I play places. I try to sell the business, sell the restaurant, sell whoever I'm playing. Promote it in social media. You know be a marketing agent for the venue. I think a lot of people kind of flip that around and they think that the venue should be marketing the band.
Loren: Well, yeah, no, but see that's the thing. Why should I - that's where we don't think in the in the mindset. Okay, I have an established venue. I've allowed you to perform here. Yes, you were going to bring certain people, but unless you are an incredibly established act - and I don't care about your Facebook likes and your Twitter likes anybody can buy those - if I'm finding out reference-wise from other venues that you're packing the house and you're packing the house with people that eat, that drink, that stay, that are safe that are making it profitable, I'm going to offer you so much more than I would somebody that's just starting out. I want them to show what they're made of. So when we when we look from the standpoint of the venue how we can help the venue. You can even make it fun. You can be like, okay, what's your super drink special tonight. Look I'm not trying to be weird. Can you give me one for free? I'll bring it up on the stage. I'll have a sip and I'll promote it. So boom. You just got a free drink, you’re cross-marketing a drink special. As musicians, there is an ambassadorship. There’s a chameleon element about playing a series of different roles because if you only want to just be the artist, at that point then I hope you have the money or the backing and if you even if you do you're going to lose a great percentage to have someone else to handle the business. If you begin to learn the business, if you get grounded and you don't have to be perfect in it, but to know the interactions you go so much further today.
David: Changing gears, let's talk a little bit of a social media and the investment that people should or shouldn't make in social media to promote their their gigs. I have mixed feelings on how useful it is. What is your take on it?
Loren: Social media is another one of those things. We have to look at intention versus perception. And then we have to look at the subjective versus the objective. A lot of people take social media from a subjective place and opinionated place. “Twitter is this,” no, you feel Twitter is that. “YouTube isn't this,” no, you feel that. Social media is an immense credible catalyst that when used properly can allow you the limited amount of time to create the right kind of content to get out there. Now, most people are not using it properly. Yeah, you know the book the book is five years old and while some of the algorithms have changed, while new sites have come, the same concept on the algorithm and the use of the psychological marketing in your content -it stands the same. You have to think about your three audiences: First off, the people that love you the most. Second off, the people that have no clue who you are. And Third off, the people that are on the edge. Now, the problem is 99% - I would easily go 99% not being sarcastic - they are marketing solely to the people who don't know who they are. They're constantly pushing, and they disrespect the audience that loves them. So why should I stay engaged with you if you're constantly promoting new things. Now, there's another group that's just they make themselves out larger than life, “oh check this link out. I'm really excited to announce.” I mean all the phrases that just automatically turn people off. People are posting on social media as if their audience or their potential audience has no other musicians on it - has no other followers on it. We need to realize when we post, regardless of your business, imagine a thousand other posts showing up in the feed of the person you want to reach. When you keep that in your mind, you begin to realize wow, I sound so much like everyone else. When you flip the script, for lack of a better word, and you begin to think about how can I engage to share vicariously to connect with someone to continue to engage the person that's already bought the album as I introduce the album or song or show to somebody else. Not these people “playing here playing here playing here playing here.” I don't care. Give me a post about your influences. You will post about your inspirations. Take me to places, tell me about a venue. I’d rather see an opening where it's “Okay. Hey, we're playing this place in Salem, Massachusetts. Right around the corner used to be a witch's grave yard and here's a link to this and you can visit the graveyard anytime or you can visit this venue on Friday, March 7th we’ll be there.” That is an enduring engaging post. That's a post that sits there. It works for today, works for tomorrow, works for next week, next month, next year. If only about gigs and releases are inside the moment then they only work for the moment. I'm one of the biggest things I still do - and it's with all businesses not just music - I've rolled down their Twitter feeds. When am I going to get down to knowing something about you, which would make me want to follow you? All I see is crap.
David: I see it's cool. I guess on another topic, do you say anything about merchandising in your book? I can’t remember.
David: I think it's a whole section on it, right?
David: As a local musician, when should I you know, what's the trigger? What's the gauge for getting into merchandising? Because there's a lot of people selling things to a lot of musicians. There's websites. They say they're going to promote your music They're gonna make you famous. There's there's people who want to create all kinds of gear for you. When is the right time to get into merchandising?
Loren: Anytime. Really, the question is moreso: What is the budget that you want to do? Everybody has t-shirts. Everybody has hats. Anybody can use stickers. It's making a little bit more of a strategic plan with the budget that you have. Funny one-off items - you can create something and if there's an interest you can pre-sell them. If I open up one of those accounts where it's my logo they can fit on a dozen different things, I've given up so many opportunities. Now if I turn around and say “okay, month of April is coming up and we're in April and right now we're selling these coffee mugs - something that's more than just a coffee mug - maybe you take a piece of merchandise you put a QR code or a download code underneath it so that they can only get a song or a video or some you know, some of your music or a pre-production track if they buy that coffee cup and they can't get it anywhere else. Merchandising is just like the music business as a whole. How can we stretch out and draw the interest of someone and not to say, “okay. I've got swag.” I mean you could do the same thing with a t-shirt. This tee shirt represents a song I have called Sweating to The Oldies or whatever you want to say. It's only available in May. It's going to have this download code right by where the T-shirt size is. If you're interested, this is where you can get it. Pulling things up and down testing the different swag elements can be a lot stronger. Yes, you can buy two thousand shirts for really cheap. But how many band houses have you been in where there are those boxes of shirts in the back of the rehearsal room that never sold? But the money that you have - allocating it wisely, auditing yourself going, “What's coming up? What's a holiday? What's something we could play with?” Maybe it's four months out of Christmas and you do a Christmas tree decoration - a little ball or something and it's got your name on it. See what the interest is, but test the waters before investing. For all these people that say, “I can give you a website. I can give you this. I can give you your brand and give you marketing. I can give you Twitter followers,” go look to a cross-section of everything that they claim they can do. “I did this for this person.” That's amazing, but will it work for me? When people used to come to me and say, “can you produce an album? I want to sound like this album you produced.” All right. Do you have the budget? What do you mean your producer? Well, you know what I produced there, we had three months in the studio. We had all this extra time. You're telling me you have less than 1/10 of what I had. I can't deliver that. That is the new scam inside of music. You have a lot of people that have had linear or partial successes in places in the past. Now they’re promising well I’ll manage you, I’ll teach you this, we’ll show you that. They're not sharing true, authentic, authoritative, information. The same way for merchandise and everything else. If somebody says they can do something - someone says they can make something - find out do your due diligence, do your references, make sure that they did it for someone else and they did it for someone else that was of your size band, your size reach, and your size budget.
David: I guess on the same idea of promoting music and getting music out there. What is your feeling on CDs versus digital versus using like a CD Baby or using a local CD printer? What is the relevance of CDs right now?
Loren: Well, the relevance is CDS can be exclusivity. If you have a certain track and it's available in all formats, then I don't need your CD. If there's certain songs or something special that’s on a CD, then it can be worthwhile. It really comes down to creating the offer that's going to be interesting. I don't use CDs anymore. I have a MacBook Pro that doesn't even have a CD drive in it. They slowly started showing that CDs are - over time they're not doing so hot. So I'm an iTunes guy. I'm an iHeart guy. That's what I do. Now, there are some people that love CDs. There are people that love vinyl. But as you go into investing and how you release your music, if you're going to do a CD or maybe you're going to do a limited run of CD, make that CD booklet something special. Make that a piece where it's like maybe someone is going to buy the CD to have it but mainly for the booklet. You know something that's just special. You're going to do a short vinyl run? What's special on that vinyl that I can't get anywhere else? Give me the exclusivity to draw me to other products. Maybe you have certain stuff that's only on a thumb drive or a download card. I love those guys at dropcards.com, you know, they can give you those little download cards. They can give you backstage pass laminate kind of things where you can turn over, get a code, and download music. It's all coming to the creativity of what you're going to grab. It’s not giving away too much. In the same thing with YouTube you can have your subscription video services against free videos that people can download. But if it's up everywhere and available everywhere, it makes the whole lot harder to sell. I mean, yeah, maybe there's certain songs or stuff that flies across every platform. But that one song that's only available on the CD is going to help to move the CD. That one song on the vinyl that someone can't get anywhere else. Bring in the wow factor.
David: So how does that work? Like the YouTube subscription. I can have videos out there for public and I can have videos for only certain people?
Loren: Yeah, that's one thing but I mean there's other streaming services or subscription services or even like those Patreon and whatever subscription where people pay like coffee or cough me I'm blanking on it. The thing there is if you have some kind of special video, the free one most of the time send it to YouTube. Now, if there's one that's exclusive, put it up on one of the ones where people have to subscribe and pay a monthly charge to be involved with you. But the point I was making before is don't have that one that somebody gets after a charge be available for people for free. People are smarter today. I don't need to subscribe to you unless I sense that there is an exclusivity that I'm getting something that I can't get anywhere else. These bands have these streaming subscription service plans, but they're sharing the content everywhere and that doesn't help. Why should I pay you to come over here? I can watch it over here listening for free.
David: Right. I think that's one of the things that CDBaby offers is, you know, we'll take your songs will put them everywhere and we'll give you a CD, you know, and we'll put it out to YouTube. And so people think that they can if they blanket they put their music out there everywhere thats that's better. It may not be better for every song.
Loren: Not always. And then at the same time with the distribution. Now, you know, what? How is your CD baby contract looking? I'm not as crazy about CDBaby since, you know management change and sale and all that. Let's say for example, and this is more for the local musician, you have a song and someone wants to license it. Maybe they want to put it in a movie. They want it off everywhere. Now see you have it through cdbaby. The distribution is everywhere. You're going to have to go through high hell to try to get that thing removed. So it really is questioning, okay, these ten twelve songs of these two albums we’re going to run them through CDBaby put them absolutely everywhere. Here's another song we might have a deal with this. So I'm going to have a solo publishing company that only has this song in the publishing company so that I can share it with the person that wants to license it. You know, I mean, look at cats like Paul McCartney that had dozens of publishing companies. This kind of goes off on a different tangent but making sure that you're protected, from your copyrights, to where your publishing is, to realizing that having a publisher for certain stuff, that might be great. Don't give them your catalog. Let them publish a couple songs. Test the waters with them. Sign a very limited time deal. Publishers are doing that today and the moral, legitimate, and authentic ones will. You don't necessarily need to sign them your catalog. You're going to sign them three or four songs. And then maybe you end up making the deal and you make so much more because you don't have a publisher. That whole should you have a publisher, should you not? I think both. Have a publisher for certain materials. Publish your own in other places. See what happens that way. You’re having a lot better of a chance and a lot more opportunities if you go that route.
David: What's your advice for people who want to get their music out like to the radio stations? Is it possible for a local person to get their music out to radio?
Loren: It’s possible, but what is what is the benefit of it? When I was growing up - I'm 44 years old - and when I was growing up in western massachusetts, we could get into a station wagon and we’d roll the dial all the way to the left. It would stop. A couple seconds later all the way the right. It would stop. That was when radio was much much more important. Radio right now on the larger scale is not as important. And this is objective. This is not subjective. This is not opinion. People have opinions about where radio is. “Well, I need to pay this person. Need to pay this radio promoter.” So you can have the smallest package and be heard at 2 a.m? It's thinking much more along the lines of getting a song to hit the radio or of course bring it to a local radio station hit your local people for your local homegrown hours. I'm all about that kind of stuff. But putting too much focus into radio is not as effective as putting more focus into the idea of saying, “Okay, I want to get this out on iTunes. I want to get this to further reviewing channels. I want to get my songs into potential placement into potential licensing.” A lot of the stuff that strikes hard and fast on the radio has massive massive budgets. So if you're only playing with a thousand dollars or even ten thousand dollars, and you're playing against a Taylor Swift radio campaign of you know, ten times or more of that, it's not worth it. For everyone that's all excited about, “Well, I got charted on this.” Okay, you can buy your way into a chart for five hundred dollars. How many people go, “Well, I'm just scanning through social media. This person's charted number five on a radio station. I've never heard of how I'm going to go buy this.”? It's much stronger to say, “Where can I get the most authentic eyes on this for opportunity over hitting a market that really - it's dead.” I mean, it has infinite ability to be on all these different places. So to try to go radio that's a dangerous place to spend too much time if you have too little money,
David: Okay, so I get that, you know local is good. I guess if you can get into your local station, and I guess that's a personal, you know you go see them personally and say, you know, can you play my music? That'll help you with a local gigs.
Loren: It’s stepping back. Everybody's asking, “can you play my music?” Find out information about them. Find out when they have a home grown, organic, or music farmed hour. What can you do for every single - and this goes from the local stations to TV everywhere in between - not “Can you play my music?” What can you say in a pitch in solicitation that separates you from the thousand others that are saying the same thing? Maybe there's a story that happened on the air. Maybe there was something funny. Listen to the show that you're submitting to. Oh, wow. He made this really funny error. They were laughing. They dropped something. Open an email with “You could hear that coffee spill. I wonder how wet that was?” Well, you know, how what the floor was. Your engagement to anyone automatically takes down the walls that they're assuming all you do is want from them. So it's not can you play my music? It's opening up sharing why they should play your music. “I'd love to be considered for this song to be played on your on your homegrown show. If it's not a fit, I do think it's a great bumper to take you to commercial or news. So consider that too. All the best.” The more personalized you make it, the more people are going to take time to read the full email.
David: So I noticed also you're involved in TV production. So that seems to be a good a good place to have music. If I have a song and I can get it into a TV show, that seems like a good thing. Like CDBaby there's people who promise that. They're going to get it into these these catalogs and it seems like a waste, you know. Is there a more direct route to get my music in front of somebody who is picking music for TV shows?
Loren: Well, you know it's a throw up. I mean you you have different people. There was the woman that had that show she was a music supervisor for Scrubs and when she became a supervisor and everybody realized that she was getting hit with absolutely everything. There are different people who say oh, I promise to get it here, I promise to get it there. Looking for different catalogs, looking for different opportunities, looking for different websites to get samples - again not full songs - but samples up and out is a great way to go. Looking even in your local area. Local television producers, reality TV show producers, reality TV show directors, TV show production houses, these are people to reach out with and make that initial contact. That becomes a stronger point because you never know where they're going to you know, jump up or go. It's that time of stating if that's an area where you want to go and I think it's a great area to go. To begin to see it as not trying to land a song on a TV show or a movie but more of “I'm going to spend 15 minutes a day or 10 minutes a day reaching out to television professionals and getting them a resume, some links to samples, and an idea of what I do, and how I can do, and how it can be helpful to them.” Also when you're reaching out there that solicitation of not, “I've got the perfect song for you,” but more of, “I'm a composer. I'm a songwriter. I've been compared to this person that person. Some my stuff sounds like this. I’d really love to be involved in any projects you have coming in the future where you need me. This is where I'm located. This is my email. This is my phone number. I hope you keep me on file.” When I get emails like that, they are kept on file. When I get the email from someone that's just, “I got the perfect song for this project that you're working on.” One off, you don't know exactly what I'm working on. Second off, you're telling me how to feel, what to feel, which is over the top and I feel like wow, I've received that letter from everyone. I had somebody that sent me a note and they talked about two projects I was on and a recent video that I put up. Now, maybe that's all they did. Maybe all they did was look across my social media visit my website, but they took the time for me, so I absolutely am going to take the time for them.
David: So I guess the moral is: get to know the people that you're trying to reach out to.
Loren: Yeah begin to build a master list. Okay, I know this person has this. This is their email. This is the phone number. This is the website. This is when I solicited. Okay, I solicited them on January 1st. Now, you haven't heard anything back. Maybe you hit them again six months later respectfully. Wait that six months but begin to have that list and you never know. You might see something pop up. Oh this person signed here. Keep an eye on the trends. Keep an eye on your local news. Keep an eye on the bigger news. Who can you reach out to and connect with authentically? That that in turn will make all the difference
David: So I see you also have some other publications. So you’ve got the Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business the Second Edition. I see this one says, “Not prepared to learn the music business? Then it's time to quit.”
Loren: Which one’s that?
David: It says WSR-25: Not prepared to learn the music business? Then it’s time to quit.
Loren: Oh that was actually an interview that was less of a publication. I think it was transcribed. The basic premise of that was if you're not going to educate yourself inside of the business and be aware of the business that's going on around you or the people you can look for, you know, I know it sounds harsh but it is time to quit.
David: You also are the Senior Brand Strategist at Create Wealth Communities. Do you want to talk about any of that? What else do you have going on, you know outside the music business?
Loren: The second book I mean before Music Business for Dummies the tour with Artist’s Guide. I had more people that were coming out there that were not musicians and I had people that said, “I bought this book for my son. I read it. I was applying these some of these branding practices to other places.” Some people spend 20 years getting in music. I spent 20 years and kind of got it. I'm not saying I'm fully out, but I am spending a lot more time doing the branding and doing the layouts with other other businesses outside of music but still using the Artist’s Guide model. Create Wealth Communities - our tagline is “educate, build, protect, then profit” and the idea here is more businesses that have a better sense of themselves, what they want to do, how they want to do it, just beyond their vision they can do that much better. From talking with them about “here's where the trademarks come and here's where you protect yourself, your reputation, preventive maintenance, crisis communication before crises happen.” All of that has become a lot of fun. So I've shifted a lot of energy that I'm still working with musicians now and then, but I'm more so working on the psychological brand strategy of a company, or a product, or a business. We're doing a lot right now in hemp and cannabis. That's as simple as just like musicians, you know, as hemp has become legal and everyone's screaming it from the rooftops, there are a lot of people that are saying the exact same things. So how do we get a more authentic message - a way to connect people to what they need to do, what they need to watch out for. Everything and every business from music to television to hemp to cannabis to, you know, artificial intelligence, the products are there and they're coming. What we've lost is the the way that we engage an audience and respect and understand that that audience has heard so much from so many other people. When we keep that in mind we go so much further. We carry our brand. We carry our message. That song that you wrote about that girl that broke up with you when you were 17 years old. It's not opening up on stage and saying, “So here's a song about this girl that broke up with me when I was 17.” It's true, but flipping the switch to say, “How many people remember that late teen break up?” You know a little pause, “What did you feel like, I mean depending on how old were you? Were you playing Nintendo, playing Xbox? Were you hiding in your room? Were you going here? This is this is how I handled it. And this was mine from when I was 17.” The whole ship what I just shared with you - the beginning, I made it all about me. The second introduction and it sounds nuancy. And it sounds “oh that's semantical.” It's not. The second introduction, I brought you back to that girl that you broke up with. I brought you - or boy. I brought you in with me. I shared with you and because I did that you become more engaged with me. Artists today - local or national - the engagement, the connection, the authenticity, that in social media in music and performance in reacting to venues and in reacting to contracts and opportunities. That will move you forward.
David: Right, just those two introductions you just did. Like the first one, I just wanted to roll my eyes and say oh another one of these songs. And then the second one is like hey, wait a minute I want to listen to this and I may want to buy that song. It's just it's just more engaging.
Loren: And those funny stories of come in between and sit there and talk about and then that becomes a social media thing. Say you're in the middle of that introduction, you know, I heard years later that on Valentine's Day there are companies that send dead flowers. Now, I never got that angry and I've come to a better place, but that's pretty cool. So here the next day on social media here is the link to Dead Flowers.com. Got that person, whether you’re 17 or you're 35, and you feel like sending some dead roses? Now, what you've done is you put up a piece of content that informs people that weren't there, it reconnects people that were there, and it might be the crossover for someone that knew you were playing. They're not quite sure what this is, but wow, that's funny. That's the kind of content that we move with social media. That's the kind of content we need to move inside of a brand to interconnect and web our messaging to continue to draw all audiences that are in the house or not to stay connected with us over the excessive oversaturation of “Next gate this. Best recording here. Perform here. Like me. Buy me. Vote for me.”
David: Excellent. Well, we’re running up on our time, so don't go away, but everybody this has been a good conversation with Loren Wiseman author of The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business. Where can people find your book still? On Amazon? Audible? Can they still buy it from your website?
Loren: I’m not really selling it anymore. Yeah Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible. Basically they have they have the corner of that. I’ve pretty much sold off that book. I would be willing to, if you want it for your fans, I'll give you a Dropbox link. If your listeners want a free download of the audio, I'd be I'd be happy to share that for when you air the show.
David: Oh, that'd be excellent. I actually would advise people to get the actual book itself. I think I bought it from your website and you signed it which is really nice. The audible is great, but having the book on hand to look through and to look at the different layouts and different messages and examples of contracts all kinds of stuff in there. It's just it's a great reference to have so I'd recommend that.
Loren: If you look up Loren Weisman, I have a lot of free stuff that I put out through videos, through Instagram posts, on Facebook, on the different social medias, it's tips and ideas with an objective stance on - I mean it's music business and beyond. They're things that you may already know, you just might have forgotten or sometimes you mask over when you're that much in your craft or in your creativity. Those short little whisper reminders can make you take two seconds before you sign a contract, before you post something on social media, before you send a letter, and kind of reconnect yourself because most people are smarter than they think. They just don't trust themselves. Don't believe the hype. Look for the substance and the truth, and you'll make better decisions for your career.
David: Great and to get ahold of you at Create Wealth Communities, I see that’s cwealthc.com. Wo you can check Loren out there. It's been really great. Thank you for for coming by and calling in. I really appreciate it. Until next time, I'm David Scott Norton with the Local Music Podcast and we'll talk to you soon.