I’m back with another career update in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, and discuss everything from my music, my performance schedule, all the way over to the podcast, my books, what I’m learning right now, and more.
For one thing, my main desktop computer has been having some issues. First, all of my programs started crashing repeatedly, and pretty soon I was also getting Blue Screen of Death errors.
I ran just about every scan imaginable, and even updated all of the drivers, but I was still getting errors. That led me to believe that the problem was hardware related. So, I took my computer into the shop, and now I’m waiting to hear back.
It’s fortunate that I purchased a backup laptop before my house sitting duty began. This was in anticipation of my main laptop giving out, but I wasn’t prepared for my desktop giving out first. Now I’m forced to work from my new laptop – which is pretty smooth, by the way – whether it was something I intended for or not.
I suppose I shouldn’t bore you with the excruciating details of falling behind on work and email, but in case there’s anyone waiting to hear back from me, it’s worth mentioning. Feel free to send me a follow-up message, because it’s entirely possible that I didn’t get your first one.
What’s interesting to me is that, despite some of the obstacles and challenges that have emerged in this season, I’ve been prompted to take action on some of the things I’ve been putting off. For example:
I’ve been meaning to put together a black book for my business – an analog notebook where all of my online credentials are stored. Now that I’ve seen how fast a stable computer system can quickly go haywire, I’ve felt the importance of this, and I’ve started recording all of my login information and updating passwords as necessary. Since I recently had my Instagram account hacked, this also alerted me to the need to create a central place for sensitive information.
I’ve also been wanting to consolidate my email. At this point, I’ve almost managed to get everything down to two email addresses, but I’m still using three. Don’t even ask how many I had before. In addition, I’m unsubscribing to unwanted emails left, right, and center, because I don’t want a cluttered inbox. Most entrepreneurs waste too much time in their email inbox.
Finally, I knew that I would need to back up my work. Again, with a computer constantly crashing, I didn’t have much of a choice but to load everything onto my external hard drive before reinstalling the OS, and trying to get the computer to work again.
With each of these goals, I had previously run into roadblocks that prevented me from moving forward with them. But now, I’m closer to having everything in order than I was before, and that’s one of the good things that has come out of this inconvenience.
I don’t think it takes a rocket surgeon to see that my computer issues have also extended into the work I do here at TME. I have a bit of catching up to do at this point.
Now I’ll share about…
How Things Are Coming Along With My Music
I know I’ve mentioned my new single “Hope” before, but I really haven’t had much of a chance to get it out there, for some of the reasons I’ve already mentioned. Interestingly enough, my personal October performance schedule also kept me otherwise occupied.
First, I played at The Circle on the 5th with Frederick Tamagi and Laurie Anne Fuhr. We honored Leonard Cohen on this occasion, and also got to collaborate on each other’s original music. It was a pleasure playing with you guys. I also performed at an anti-bullying event called “Erase The Label” on the 16th with Anna, as well at Vern’s with Taylor on the 22nd, and we shared the stage with Martini Tango and a couple of other great acts. I did get a chance to play “Hope” on the 22nd, so that’s the one thing I was able to do for the new single. Thanks again for inviting me to play, Darryn! Here’s a shout-out to Mike from Treemansion as well.
It’s been fun playing my own material in live settings again, and this is something I will be doing more of moving forward.
Not surprisingly, I haven’t really had much of a chance to think about my next single. If I hadn’t run into some of the problems already mentioned, I likely would have been able to put something together for October, but that’s clearly not happening now. November is shaping up to be another intense month, but I am going to be putting some thought into what to record next.
I’ll also share…
How Things Are Coming Along With Adrenalize & Long Jon Lev
Adrenalize had one show at Red Bush Tea and Coffee Company in October. Red Bush has fast become my second home in a way, because many of the communities and bands I’m involved in – from Listening Room YYC and The Question, all the way over to Adrenalize and Long Jon Lev – have been holding regular events there.
By the way, in case you were wondering, YYC is the airport code for Calgary, where I reside. I don’t know why, but here in Canada, we’re sometimes in the habit of referring to the cities we live in by their airport codes.
Adrenalize is currently preparing for a string of shows at movie theatres, and this is something I’m looking forward to. I think it could be a great fit for the band, and will likely be very profitable.
Long Jon Lev also had a few shows in October, but beyond the fact that we’re discussing an upcoming tour, there isn’t a whole lot more to talk about – not to understate the importance of what I just said. Overall, the band is in prime form, and I think the next step for us is to game-plan how to play more outside of Calgary.
And now I’ll talk about…
How Things Are Coming Along With The Podcast
The progress with the podcast has been steady. I think some of the former listeners of DAWCast: Music Entrepreneurship are finally finding their way over to the new show, and that’s good to see.
I said before that I wanted to publish two episodes per week, on Tuesday and Thursday. I have yet to return to that schedule since starting series two, and I’m not sure that I will be, at least for the time being. The main thing right now is to release new episodes regularly, and I have been keeping to that.
If anything, I would love to be sharing more interviews with you. Not to suggest that there is a shortage of guests to have on the show, as that is not the case. It’s more a matter of time and scheduling. But I do anticipate getting back on a regular schedule in the near future, so it could just be a matter of time.
And as much as I love to write, I know that many of you love audio and video content, so this is what I’ve been prioritizing more and more.
I’ll also share a bit about…
How Things Are Coming Along With My Books
Sales continue at a trickle for The New Music Industry. There’s also a great review of the book on Earthling Adventures. I’ll be sure to put the link in the show notes.
Overwhelmingly, the sentiment on the book has been positive, whether online or off. I’m glad to see that this is the case.
As far as finding a specific outlet for promotion, I have yet to settle on any one service. But I have been learning quite a bit from James Altucher on the subject of self-publishing. He has a lot of great resources on his website, and it’s likely that I will be implementing some of his suggested strategies moving forward.
I also continue to hand out promo cards wherever I go, and if you’d like to have one, and you don’t live in Calgary, feel free to drop me a line. My email address is: email@example.com. The promo cards are free.
I’ve also made some progress on my upcoming book, Flashes of Elation, but not as much as I would like. I feel like I’m in a season of restructuring at the moment, so first, I’m going to need to get myself reoriented, and then begin pushing in the direction I need to go.
Will this look any different than it did before? I can’t say for sure, but that is what my instincts are telling me.
And now, here’s…
What I’m Learning Right Now
I’m learning that life as you know it can change in a hurry. One moment you could be enjoying a season of relief, and the next plunging into a season of testing.
This isn’t something I haven’t experienced before, but it’s a little different every time. And as someone who is mission oriented, and as someone who is constantly seeking personal growth, I’ve found that you basically end up inviting these challenges into your life.
I don’t necessarily know what the testing is about. What I do know is that it’s a season, and a season always has a beginning and an end. I also know that I will be – and already have been – encountering circumstances that will derail me from being the best version of myself. I think I would be naïve to think that I could rise to the next level without some of my flaws and past disappointments rearing their ugly heads.
On the one hand, I do think it’s about determining what the best course of action is in any given situation, but on the other hand, I’m aware that the challenge itself is designed to throw me off course. Can I be honest, understanding, and or encouraging in the face of mounting consequence? Can I make the right decisions, knowing that the decision might not be advantageous for me in any way? That’s part of what this is all about.
It’s not in my nature to stop and stagnate, which is one of the reasons why I am where I am right now. That’s my perspective, anyway.
I’m also learning to be honest without being insulting or offensive. That is a tough balance, and I wouldn’t say I’ve found it. I’ve always wanted to be liked, and I’ve tried so hard for that. As result, there haven’t been many people directing criticism in my direction as well. In a sense, I’ve played it safe.
If criticism is constructive, and if it’s coming from the right place, it’s helpful. It can shed light on our weaknesses, and it can show us where we could be better.
Support is good. We all want support. But support in the face of a lackluster product is detrimental to one’s progress. If someone believes they’re good at something, and they really aren’t, you’re not doing them any favors by skirting the issue. We all need time to develop, but without a mirror in our face, sometimes we can’t see where we need to grow, let alone that we should grow.
Finally, I’ll share briefly about…
I have all of my goals in front of me on my whiteboard, and there’s quite a bit I’m looking to accomplish by March 2017.
These goals are connected to selling resource packs, book sales, pre-orders for Flashes of Elation, making podcast appearances, and so on.
Setting these goals in front of me seems to have had a positive effect, as I’ve already done one podcast interview, and I was invited to do a second one just today. I’m also going to be featured on a new website for transparent entrepreneurs in the near future, which I’m very excited about.
Despite some setbacks, a lot of things are coming together, and I’m looking forward to creating more great content to entertain, educate, and inspire you, right here on TME.
In the long run, being a jerk will do more harm than good for your music career. And once you have a bad reputation, it will take a lot of effort to reverse that image. In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, we look at why you should be aware of how you conduct yourself while you’re building your music career.
00:15 – We’re going to talk about how you conduct yourself
00:21 – How you’re perceived by others is important
00:34 – The difference between confidence and arrogance
01:29 – Good reputation and bad reputation
02:20 – Well-publicized jerks in the music industry
02:57 – Jerks attract more jerks into their lives
03:41 – Why extremes are dangerous
04:08 – Finding the balance between honesty and respect
04:46 – Sometimes it isn’t fair
Thank you so much for joining me. Today I wanted to talk about how you conduct yourself, because how you’re perceived by others is really important. You don’t really have to look much further than your branding, your image, what you wear, and how your fans perceive you and your music to know that this is true.
There’s a huge difference between confidence and arrogance, and understanding this difference may help you.
Confidence tends to attract people. Arrogance tends to repel people.
Confidence is self-belief. It’s the belief that you are worthy, you are deserving, you are capable, and that you can one day achieve everything you’ve set out to do.
But arrogance tends to come with the spirit of entitlement. It’s basically saying, “I deserve all of these privileges regardless of how hard I worked, regardless of how much time I’ve put into mastering my craft, regardless of how much time I’ve spent building connections and have been in the music industry.”
But if you haven’t done anything at all, you haven’t accomplished anything at all, you haven’t put out any releases, you haven’t put out any videos, and nobody knows who you are, then I’m sorry to say you’re probably not going to get those things. And you have to put in the hard work necessary to get to where you want to go.
You know, a bad reputation is easy to create and hard to eliminate. A good reputation takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work to create. If people say enough good things about you, if you make enough good impressions, if you continue to show up and deliver on your promises, then one day people will start saying positive things about you. But it’s going to take some time to get there.
Whereas, if you make bad impressions with people, and you continue to disappoint them, and you don’t deliver on your promises, it only takes a few to gain a bad reputation. And like I said, getting rid of that bad reputation could be difficult. It’s going to take a lot of time to undo all the harm and bad that you’ve done.
Now I’m aware, there are some well-publicized jerks in the music industry. But that doesn’t mean that they’re in the majority. That might be your perception – that all of these well-publicized jerks that you know, that they’re in the majority, that that’s who the music industry is made up of? It’s false.
It makes sense, right? Think of the vocal minority. Does everybody a comment on a YouTube video? No. It’s the vocal minority that does. And the vocal minority is very outspoken and often polarizing in their viewpoints.
When you are a jerk yourself, you’ll tend to attract more jerks. It’s not much fun – trust me. Because you become who you hang around with. Birds of a feather flock together. If five of your friends – five of your best friends – are jerks, and you’re a jerk, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be able to get out of that situation. And you’re just going to be out-jerking each other, for lack of a better term. You’re going to do bad things to each other. You’re not going to be nice to each other.
Maybe that’s one way to relate, but it’s definitely not a way to relate to the world. And as a musician, you’re trying to get fans, and you’re trying to attract and not repel them.
And the reality is, you can also go too far to the other end, and extremes are dangerous. You can be nice to the point of being fake. Fake doesn’t work. Just look at the election and what’s happening with that right now. People relate to authenticity. They don’t like fake. I don’t like fake. Wouldn’t you rather just know what people think?
I’m not saying that we need to be honest in the face of being disrespectful or insulting. And I’m trying to find that balance myself, of being honest and saying what I think, but not a cruel way.
And it’s the same thing with employees, if you have any, or your team. You can delay saying what needs to be said, but then your team member will continue to mess up. Whereas, if you told them exactly what was wrong with what they did in the first place, you could both move on, and you can get them doing the things the way that you want them to be done.
The world works in strange ways and sometimes it isn’t entirely fair. Sometimes it will appear as though the jerks are getting ahead, and the nice people – who are working hard to create a good reputation – are not.
But in the long run, if you become somebody that people want to be around, I believe that you will have a better career – it will last longer, and you will accomplish more.
Achieving everything that you want to achieve – especially if you have big dreams – can be difficult. And we know that not everybody succeeds in the music industry. But you’ll get a heck of a lot closer.
There’s some talk in the industry about the blockchain and what it can do for the music industry. Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about? Have you found it challenging to understand what’s actually being discussed? In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share with you what I learned from reading Don and Alex Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution.
These are some of the terms being used in connection with the blockchain, a platform that enables transactions to take place in a secure, transparent, and efficient digital environment.
But it’s a bit confusing.
If you thought that the “blockchain” was merely a reference to the platform governing bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – which are considered a digital asset – then prepare to be surprised.
If we can overcome certain obstacles and reduce the challenges associated with widespread adoption, it’s entirely possible that all financial transactions – and possibly even other types of transactions – will all be done through the blockchain in the future. But that time isn’t now, and it may be several years, if not decades, until we see the “revolution” unfold in full.
When I think of the blockchain, I can’t help but be reminded of a discussion I once had with an experienced guitar tech who was also a friend of mine. He asked me, “Have you ever read about guitar pickups and had trouble understanding what was being described?”
I readily answered, “Yes, I have.”
He replied, “That’s because we don’t know 100% how the technology works yet.”
In the last few years, a lot of the mysteries surrounding guitar pickups have been revealed, which in theory should enable us to create even better guitar pickups in present day than we were able to in the past.
Pickups actually have a long history, and in the 1910s, telephone transmitters were adapted and placed inside violins and banjos to amplify their sound. It’s fair to say that the invention of the pickup was rooted in this early innovation.
To me, the blockchain right now is kind of like the guitar pickup when it was still shrouded in mystery. And the reason I say that is because we can’t really describe it without using many of the terms I started this conversation with – terms that aren’t necessarily in common usage, unless you belong to particular industries.
And that’s why I bought Blockchain Revolution – to better understand what this technology is, and how it will affect our future. And if you’re a businessperson or someone in the financial industry, I would suggest getting a head start on this now instead of putting it off.
Prior to buying this book, I watched multiple videos that described what the blockchain is or how it could benefit the music industry. Those didn’t give me a complete picture of what it is, and left me puzzled. And even after reading this 300-page tome, I still wouldn’t say I completely understand what it is or how it works. But I will say that there is huge potential, and like the guitar pickup, our understanding should grow with time and experience. And that will likely happen at a much faster rate than it did with pickups.
But I’m sure you have some doubt, and I’m sure you’re wondering how this applies to you, so let me quote a brief passage from the book. This should explain, at least in part, why the blockchain is relevant to musicians and the music industry at large:
The whole [Napster] incident turned a huge hot spotlight on the music industry, exposing its outdated marketing practices, gross distribution inefficiencies, and what some interpreted as antimusician policies.
The Tapscotts suggest that the blockchain could lead the way for positive change in the music industry. We’ll be taking a look at that in a little more detail later on.
For now, let’s get into what I learned from reading Blockchain Revolution.
1. The Blackchain Will Allow Us To Move From The Industrial Age Money Machine To A Prosperity Platform
If this is true, I’m excited for what’s ahead. Seth Godin constantly reminds us that the industrial age is coming to an end if not already over, and its tenets do more harm than good as we look to become more valuable, more capable people in the information age and beyond.
But if this statement evokes some cynicism and skepticism within you, you’re certainly not alone – I also thought the same thing. And to be fair, the Tapscotts did dedicate the entire third part of their book to describing the challenges that are facing the widespread implementation and adoption of blockchain technology.
But if we assume that all of the positive aspects of the blockchain are true, that it allows for more transparent, efficient, and secure transactions, then to conclude that it could encourage the distribution of wealth on a global scale is not too audacious an assumption.
But where the word “prosperity” is used, some caution is necessary. After all, how many of us have been promised prosperity by TV evangelists, preachers, pastors, internet marketers, network marketers, authors, and so on? If your mind never changes, does your circumstance ever truly change? The human condition is such that while we have no control over outcomes, we are more responsible for our personal outcomes than anyone else.
I will say this – that a “prosperity platform” does sound a lot more attractive than an “industrial age money machine.”
2. Monopolies Have Resources For Research & Development But Not The Culture Required For Innovation
Not all things I learn from a book are necessarily connected to the primary subject at hand.
I picked out this statement because it intrigued me. And it makes perfect sense, too. If you are a monopoly in your industry, you might have the resources necessary to put time into market research, and to develop products and services that meet your customer’s needs. But you don’t have the culture to innovate, and that leaves room for disruption to occur.
And in the world we’re now in, to not innovate could mean to stagnate. Technology is changing much too fast, and you could easily be blindsided by seismic shifts.
Tony Robbins always likes to say that if we’re not growing in a particular area of life, we’re shrinking. In business and in music, we can’t afford not to grow, and when we dominate a market, we have to remember that we put ourselves at risk of being usurped by hungry, trailblazing competitors.
3. The Blockchain Allows People To Function With The Stability Of The Organization, But Without The Hierarchy
This is a wonderful insight into what the blockchain can do for business. Big businesses are often ruled by red tape. An adherence to the strictest of standards, rules, and formalities has the benefit of encouraging projects and tasks to be completed in a consistent, standardized, and regulated way, but also slows the way to fresh approaches and innovation.
This is partly why the blockchain has the potential to be a major disruptor in many industries, if it hasn’t been already. It’s a stable, secure, and transparent online ledger that can record transactions in seconds rather than days, because the transactions themselves don’t have to go through multiple intermediaries to be completed.
This would have considerable impact on the way things are done within an enterprise, particularly one that’s used to excessive bureaucratic force that can impede fast decision making. Going up the chain of command for a decision that should have been made months ago is an all-too-common reality in a public company. The lag between when a problem is identified to the time the issue is formally addressed by leadership is much too long.
I can’t imagine that there won’t be pushback in this area, if and when blockchain technology becomes in the norm in corporate environments – it’s virtually assured. But for those who see the disadvantages of red tape, and those who want to lead the way in new methodologies in business are going to be heartened by the opportunities the blockchain can afford them.
4. Technology Does Not Create Opportunity; People Do
I love this statement, and it’s very applicable as we consider this issue of the blockchain.
Looking back, I remember sharing about how a tool in and of itself does not have the ability to make you successful as a musician. I wrote about this when I was still contracting with TuneCity. This is why I do not encourage musicians to use every social media platform under the sun to market their music.
A tool can help you amplify your message, and a specific platform might prove to be the right fit for your particular situation. This doesn’t change the fact that Facebook and Twitter represent the vast majority of traffic and attention I’ve ever received from social media for my music or content, making up roughly 80% of my organic traffic on any given day. This has been true across all of the sites and businesses I’ve ever created.
I’ll never stop you from experimenting, as this is something I do myself. As I already shared, it’s important to push the boundaries and to innovate. Just color me skeptical when it comes to every new thing that comes along.
I recently heard Seth Godin ask, “what’s the smallest footprint you can get away with?”
There are many marketers and entrepreneurs urging you to hop on this site and jump on that app, but the reality is that some are lying to you, and others simply aren’t in touch with what’s best for your career and business moving forward. You’re the one leading the way, so you know what to do better than anyone else!
Focus is an art form – of that I have no doubt. I believe I have achieved more consistency in my life in the last couple of years than in years past, but I’m just as susceptible to the shiny object syndrome as anyone else.
But if you bear in mind that people are responsible for opportunities – and not technology – you’ll keep a level head in a time when everybody is running around like headless chickens.
5. We All Benefit When Creative Industries Thrive
In chapter nine of their book, which is titled “Freeing Culture on the Blockchain: Music to Our Ears”, the Tapscotts explore what blockchain technology could mean for artists and musicians moving forward. This is, undoubtedly, one of the most relevant sections in the book for you and for me, if a bit difficult to understand.
It’s more than likely you’ve heard of Imogen Heap, English composer and singer-songwriter. She has been leading the way in advocacy for the blockchain in the music industry, and has even teamed up with the likes of Pacifico and Vinay Gupta to develop a new ecosystem for an industry that’s very fragmented and subject to negativity and constant fluctuation.
As the Tapscotts explain, the industry has gone from thousands of labels to three majors – Sony, Universal, and Warner. They own 15% in Spotify, and if it goes public, the labels will stand to benefit in a major way. With 360-degree deals, artists are the last to be paid, and label take a substantial cut from – well – everything you make! Arguably, they even stick their fingers in where they don’t belong. And in the music industry, labels aren’t the only intermediaries – we also have tech companies like YouTube and Spotify jumping in and raising their hands.
Basically, the business is just too complex, and the cost of policing royalties has gone up, making it all the more difficult to tilt the scale in favor of the artist.
If you’ve picked up just the basics of what the blockchain is and how it works to this point, I think you’re starting to see why it has the potential to be a game-changer for the industry at large. And it’s not hard to see why it would make sense for signed artists to start pushing for it too.
But what about the little guy? Would this really make any difference for us – independent musicians, music business owners, trailblazers, music entrepreneurs? It’s all well and good to talk about big artists keeping a larger cut of what they make, and record labels playing a different role in the industry, but what exactly would the blockchain do for independents, whether this career path is a matter of necessity, or function?
If what the Tapscotts have documented in this book is any indication, then it’s safe to say that the blockchain is just as much for the small guy – if not more than – the big guy.
Here’s one example of the shift that we could expect to take place. Right now, as an artist, whenever you look at your digital sales and accounting reports, you’ll probably notice that they’re several months behind, especially with regards to plays on streaming sites.
But with the blockchain, these virtual transactions could be recorded more or less instantaneously. This would effectively mean that your statements would be up-to-date, and that you’d get paid faster too.
We’d all like to keep more of what we’re owed, and I think that’s the opportunity that the blockchain represents for the music business.
I’d like to close with some thoughts from the Tapscotts themselves, and I only think it’s fitting that we do. Here’s another quote from their expertly written book, concluding their chapter on freeing culture on the blockchain:
Through the lens of blockchain technologies, musicians, artists, journalists, and educators are seeing the contours of a world that protects, cherishes, and rewards their efforts fairly. All of us should care. We are a species that survives by its ideas, not by its instincts. We all benefit when creative industries thrive and when the creatives themselves can make a living. Moreover, these are the bellwethers of our economy – they reveal faster than nearly any other industry how both producers and consumers will adopt and then adapt a technology to their lives. Musicians have long been among the first to exploit innovations for the benefit of a great many others, too often at their own expense. These dedicated members of our society inspire us, and every business executive, government official, and other organizational leader has much to learn from them about the new era of the digital age.
As always, I’ve shared my thoughts on this book in my own words and from my personal perspective. The authors may or may not agree with what I’ve had to share with you, but hopefully I’ve done a good job of extracting ideas that you’ll find valuable.
There’s no way to unpack a 300-page document on the various facets of blockchain technology in such a limited amount of time. If I’ve piqued your curiosity, I would suggest that you pick up the book for yourself and have a read.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this book review, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
Thanks for reading! If you feel inclined to check out Blockchain Revolution, you can go to Amazon, where you can learn more about the book, and see what others have had to say about it. Should you choose to buy the book through the provided link, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Owning and running a successful record label is a major ambition for many budding music entrepreneurs. The independent music sector is booming, with new labels and exciting indie artists springing up across the globe.
However, while potential music moguls may have the necessary drive to succeed in the industry, many don’t know how to start a record label, or where to begin their dream business venture.
There are so many things to consider when setting up an independent record label, it may seem like a daunting task. And it’s true – it will be hard work – but if you’re a driven person with a passion for music, the rewards are worth it.
You’ll need to set yourself the goals you’d like to achieve within the coming years and decide how you will make them a reality. Your targets could range from signing a certain number of emerging artists and putting on shows, to earning revenue through sales and merchandising.
It’s important to acquire a web domain for your label too. A professional website will be the face of your business, and should showcase the artists signed to your label and any upcoming events.
The Legal Side of Your Label
You’ll also need to tackle the legal and corporate side of owning your own label, including setting up business banking to keep on top of your finances, and securing official registration as a limited company. Then there’s the contracts, and this is where things can get complicated.
Drawing up legally-binding contracts can be a complex and costly process, especially if you need to hire a lawyer to make sure everything is water-tight.
There’s a wide range of contracts to consider when it comes to signing artists, including Sound Recording Licenses, 360 Deals, Merchandising Agreements, Management Agreements, Synchronization Licenses, and more.
This may seem overwhelming to someone with little legal or business experience, but if you’re determined to start a record label and you have a true passion for music – there is another way.
The New Way to Start a Record Label
So you have a passion for music and the determination you need to make it in the music industry, but need some help getting started. If this describes your situation, then there’s a new way to start a record label you should know about – it’s called Record Label in a Box.
Record Label in a Box was created by Ditto Music, one of the world’s top music distributors, and has already helped launch more than 1,000 new record labels all over the world, from the UK and USA, to Australia and beyond.
What Does a Record Label in a Box Contain?
Endorsed by The Times and other leading publications, it’s been described as “a one-stop shop for musicians and budding record label moguls”. It contains the physical and digital tools that music entrepreneurs need to get started setting up and running a record label:
Official registration as a limited company
Online Contract Wizard for creating and customizing contracts
Pre-arranged business banking
ISRC codes for registering releases
USB pen containing all your company data
Personal online management suite
Royalty tracking and collection software
A music industry networking calendar
Web domain set up
Record Label in a Box owners can also access one-to-one support from one of Ditto music’s industry experts, to help answer any questions and make sure they’re making the most of the tools on offer.
The Key to Running a Successful Independent Label
Record Label in a Box can provide you with tools you need to set up your label, but the success of your business will ultimately depend on the work that you put in. Networking with other music industry figures and making important connections is essential.
A great contact list can be the difference between failure and success.
Attending music industry networking events and meeting with promoters, event organizers, publishers, trend-setters and other industry professionals should be at the top of your to-do list. These are the people who can help you make a bigger impact in the industry and get the word out about your artists and label.
Setting up and running a record label can be an exciting, exhausting and rewarding venture. And with the right attitude and the tools available with Record Label in a Box, musical entrepreneurs have a better chance than ever to realize their music industry ambitions.
A lot of people talk about investments. But what most people aren’t willing to admit is that they know very little about how they work, why they’re important, and how much money they’re paying to have their portfolios managed. In this episode of the podcast, I share five insights from the book, The Warren Buffett Way, in an effort to clarify the sometimes confusing and scary world of investing.
Don’t let the economy dictate your actions. – Tweet This
As Tony Robbins so eloquently expressed in his book, MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (get it on Amazon), investments are confusing.
Once you get passed the terminology, it’s not as bad as it may first appear, but building that kind of comfort level can take time.
And let’s face it – it’s not necessarily an exciting topic unless you’re already making money from your investments. Only then is it actually fun!
The reality is that most of us will need to invest in something – in our own business, in the stock market, or elsewhere.
Why do I say that? Because most of us won’t have enough money to retire on. Or, we simply won’t have the means to live the lifestyle we want once we’re ready to retire.
Unless you’re someone with extraordinary talent, skill, or knowledge with the ability to make a lot of money, or you’re extremely savvy and good at saving, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to live off of pensions and retirement savings alone.
Taxes cost money, utilities cost money, travel costs money, and eating costs money. Even if you pay off your mortgage, there are still some things you will have to pay for after you’ve left the working world.
Scary to think about isn’t it? But that’s exactly why we have to talk about this. You need a plan for your future.
Unfortunately, The Warren Buffett Way doesn’t exactly demystify investing. It doesn’t lay out the meaning behind industry terms either. What it does do is offer a few practical insights into Buffett’s investing strategy. That’s about five to 10% of the book. The other 90% is about Buffett’s investing history, something most people won’t find terribly entertaining, including me.
But nevertheless, I read this lengthy tome from start to finish, and I wanted to share with you a few insights I took away from it. Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Invest In Businesses That You Understand & Thoroughly Believe In The Management
This point is hammered home in various parts of the book, and in different ways.
Another way of saying this is:
Buy a business, not a stock.
Do you believe in the business? Do you believe the management is competent? Does the management know how to allocate financial resources in a smart, strategic way? Are you convinced that the right pieces are in place, and that the future of the business is secure?
If you answered “no”, then it doesn’t matter whether or not you feel you’re staring at a “good deal”. Buffett doesn’t invest in stock – he invests in businesses.
And despite the fact that he is one of the wealthiest men on the planet, he has made some mistakes along the way. This is inevitable. You can’t bat 1,000 in investing.
But the next time you hear someone tell you about this investment deal they heard about, your first reaction should not be, “I’m in!” It should be, “do you believe in the management?”
2. The Better The Investor You Are, The Better The Business Owner You Will Be & Vice-Versa
I thought that this was a really great takeaway.
The idea is that the better investor you are, the better the business owner you could potentially be. Or the better the business owner you are, the more readily you’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a business when you’re looking to invest. The two disciplines are complementary, and a strength in one of them will help you to succeed in the other.
So if you’re interested in investing and securing your future, then you should get into business, because it will teach you a lot about investing also.
3. Economic Strength Is Most Often Found In Franchises
When you hear the word “franchise”, what immediately comes to mind? McDonald’s? Walmart? Subway? Starbucks?
The thing about franchises is that they are systematized. I think this is an important insight missing from the book.
What I mean is that you can walk into any franchise, and typically you’ll get a very consistent experience across all of them, whether you’re ordering a coffee, some French fries, or a sandwich.
And another aspect is employee conduct, and how they greet customers, how they up-sell, how they prepare your meal, how they check out at the end of the day. Most if not all franchises have all of these steps documented and written down so that consistency is preserved at all locations.
But in context of investing, the point here is that franchises are often good investments. Why? Because they don’t require competent management. Most other business models are heavily reliant on strong management, but with a franchise, an adequate manager will do just fine.
4. Don’t Worry Needlessly About The Economy
The book even points out that Buffett himself spends no time or energy analyzing the economy.
If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know why I think this is a valuable insight.
Again, if we were to apply it to the world of investing, the idea here is not to watch the stock market and let it tell you what to do, but rather to act independently of movement in the market and to make solid choices that will benefit you and your portfolio. It’s the difference between acting on the best information available to you, and reacting emotionally to the ups and downs in the market, which are inevitable.
But I think this is good advice when it comes to building your music career or music business as well. If you let the economy dictate your actions, you’ll always be on the reactionary side of the equation.
This does not mean that the economy won’t affect you. If you’re a music teacher, you might lose some clients as a recession hits. If you’re a gigging musician, you might not be able to access the same quality of gigs as before, resulting in reduced pay.
But this is where the entrepreneurial spirit rises up and finds new opportunities. And if they can’t find them, they make them.
5. Purchase Businesses Only When They’re At A Significant Discount Of Their Real Value
Whether you know it or not, even big businesses have ups and downs. As an investor, this means that you might have the opportunity to invest in a business for much less than it is actually worth. The key here is that you would have to keep an eye on how the business is doing over time, and this is not something you would do unless you were interested in the business in the first place.
As I reflect on the contents of this book, it is clear that this tenet has definitely been a part of Buffett’s investing strategy over the years.
And it makes a lot of sense. If you can buy a business for less than its actual value, you’ve bought it at a bargain. So long as the investment itself was sound, you’d be able to enjoy the benefits of the company’s recovery and growth over time.
At this point, I’m obligated to say that I can’t in good conscience give you investment advice. I’ve had some successes and some failures in this regard, but I only play with money I’ve specifically set aside in my “aggressive growth fund”, which is a separate fund from my emergency fund as well as my dream fund. I’m not an accountant, broker, lawyer, or a millionaire investor. Please consider consulting a professional if you’re interested in finding an investment that’s right for you.
As always, I have shared my insights and ideas from the book in my own language and from my own perspective. The author may or may not agree with what I’ve had to share with you. But hopefully I’ve done a reasonably good job of extracting some things that you’ll find valuable.
And, of course, I can’t unpack a tome of this length and boil all of its wisdom down into a few minutes of audio or a 1,500 blog post, so I would recommend going straight to the source if I’ve piqued your interest. But as I said at the beginning, you’re in for a long read unless you love “geeking out” over investing and investment strategies.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this book review, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
Thanks for reading! If you feel inclined to check out The Warren Buffett Way, you can go to Amazon, where you can learn more about the book, and see what others have had to say about it. Should you choose to buy the book through the provided link, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you.