The Music Entrepreneur Code: How to Get Paid for Your Passion and Impact More Fans Without Wasting Years of Your Life and Thousands of Dollars is available in Kindle and paperback formats now!
A lot of extra work went into this book (I went over and above in making it what it is), and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.
In this post, I will be sharing the story behind my latest book.
How the Book Came to be
I began working on this book last year, and it was going to be titled something along the lines of 50 Steps to Becoming a Music Entrepreneur.
I wanted each step to be about 200 words (quite short), but also link out to a variety of other resources the reader would find helpful.
The title, however, flew in the face of what I was ultimately trying to accomplish. It didn’t take me long to put together the first draft, but the concept just wasn’t resonating.
I had been observing, for a while, that many of the music entrepreneur related resources were overwhelming in scope, length and – dare I say it – academic arrogance. This became especially apparent to me when I attended CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference last year.
While I do believe it’s good and even wise to conceive a sophisticated marketing strategy for your music career, I don’t think any musicians coming straight out of music lessons or school are going to feel anything less than dumbfounded by the mountain they (allegedly) must climb to enjoy a career in music.
Skimming these resources alone could, sadly, leave some musicians feeling like they should give up before they even start.
And, the resources I was coming across were so far removed from anything I’ve ever taught any of my successful students (set up pre-orders, get to your first dollar, make the product, etc.) that I simply couldn’t leave this injustice unaddressed.
I shared this idea with my mastermind group, and, with their help, I made the switch from 50 Steps to Becoming a Music Entrepreneur to The Music Entrepreneur Code. They have been instrumental in helping me make this book everything it could possibly be.
I then vowed to make this resource as easy to digest as humanly possible. I kept editing and trimming until I felt the key takeaways couldn’t be any clearer. And, I’m proud of what I was able to produce.
Why The Music Entrepreneur Code?
My publishing career to this point might look slightly scattered.
First, I published the best-selling The New Music Industry. So far, so good, right?
Then I published The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship. Considering my main business is Music Entrepreneur HQ, this seems rather fitting as well.
Then came The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship. Seems like maybe I got off-track, right?
To be fair, though, I was commissioned to write the book for The Indie YYC community, and as you may already know, I’m a co-founder of the community. The book became a best-seller, so I don’t regret doing what I did.
Finally, I launched Start Your Year the Right Way. This book, unfortunately, created more disconnect than expected.
It took effort to put together, and I’m proud of the work, but sadly, best to my knowledge, I haven’t sold a single copy to date.
That’s okay, however, as it likely just means I need to change the title and cover to give it some legs.
If there are any questions about my intentions with Start Your Year the Right Way, I wanted to create a motivational book music entrepreneurs could use to get clear on their goals.
I don’t think the concept is wrong – just that I need to do some things differently to build a proper connection with my audience.
Anyway, you might be asking yourself (as my mastermind group asked), “how does The Music Entrepreneur Code fit in with the rest?”
This question is an important one. In large part, it’s guiding the direction of my projects in 2020.
To create cohesion between my books, I will be reworking and rebranding most of them into what I call the Complete Music Entrepreneur Set.
The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship will become The Music Entrepreneur Mindset.
The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship will become The Music Entrepreneur Identity.
And, Start Your Year the Right Way will become The Music Entrepreneur Power Year.
The Music Entrepreneur Code fits nicely in between Identity and Power Year.
Mindset gives you the absolute essentials you need to begin your career as a music entrepreneur.
Identity helps you identify your brand.
Code helps you take the right actions at the right time to build your career.
Power Year, which could potentially go at the beginning of the Complete Set, helps with setting goals, devising a strategy and staying motivated.
This is as far as I’ve gotten with how one book connects with the other, but I think I’m well on my way to making sense of it all.
Without Wasting Years of Your Life and Thousands of Dollars?
I know, it’s kind of an evocative subtitle, right? But it reflects my experience quite accurately.
Here, in 2020, many of my dreams have come true. There’s always more to strive for, but I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.
Yet, I can tie most of my business success back to choices I made in 2014. And, I can tie most of those choices back to 2007, when I began my personal development journey.
13 years isn’t forever, but it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.
And, while all that was going on, I easily lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to failed business ventures.
I rather like to think of it as an investment though. I got to learn some expensive lessons!
When presented with the facts, many people will choose not to follow that path. They wouldn’t want to go broke, break up with their significant other or run a beater car into the ground multiple times as I did, just to achieve their dreams.
So, if you knew what I now know, you’d be able to shortcut your progress significantly, don’t you think? Thus, the subtitle.
The book is not an end in and of itself. In many ways, it’s just the beginning.
First, I will be marketing the book. The process has already begun.
By the way, anyone telling you that you shouldn’t market your book (I’ve heard some “experts” say “if you get the positioning right, the rest will take care of itself”) probably doesn’t have a hot clue what they’re talking about.
Second, I’m planning to create a companion course for the book. We all have our preferred way of consuming content, but there’s no denying that some people love audio and video. So, that will be the focus of the companion course.
Third, I’m planning to put together the audiobook version of the book. This may very well come last, but it has the potential to become an important asset all its own.
And, finally, as already noted, I will be fleshing out the Complete Music Entrepreneur Set.
So, the work has only just begun.
Thanks for reading. I hope my story has been engaging and possibly even inspiring.
If you could take a moment to leave a rating and review for the book on Amazon, I will be eternally grateful to you. You are welcome to pre-order the Kindle while you’re there, too.
And, if you’d like to discuss the project further, or schedule an interview with me, you’re welcome to get in touch.
Here’s wishing you all the best in your various creative projects and endeavors.
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Picking up where we let off, Dave Chick (of Hatched Productions) and I are back at it again.
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, we continue our conversation, touching on everything from the project cycle and making the music you want to make, to gear and listener behavior in the digital age.
- 00:18 – The project cycle
- 13:05 – Making the music you want to make
- 20:34 – Gear talk
- 25:12 – Analog vs. digital debate
- 26:00 – Consumer/listener behavior in the digital age
- 29:10 – Rough takes, demos, stems
- 31:43 – Closing thoughts
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It’s a little-known fact that I used to be a co-host of Inside Home Recording towards the end of its lifespan. But I do remember that experience fondly.
In this episode, I catch up with long-time host of IHR Dave Chick (of Hatched Productions), who has been working as a composer and sound designer for the last 12 years.
Our conversation jumps around from taking a circuitous route in life and podcasting to our tastes in music, building business connections and more. This is part one in a two-part series.
Of course, for the budding composer, we get into that side of things too!
- 00:00 – Capturing quality audio
- 01:45 – Welcome to Inside Home Recording?
- 05:48 – Taking a circuitous route in life
- 11:30 – 10 years in podcasting
- 13:25 – The realities of music streaming
- 20:06 – Sound design and composition
- 22:12 – Dave and Dave have a similar taste in music
- 26:07 – Building connections and working with clients
- 31:23 – Burnout in music
With an estimated net worth of $380 million, KISS’ Gene Simmons is the epitome of a music entrepreneur.
Making connections, seeking opportunities, setting goals, cutting deals, and most importantly taking actions on his plans, even at 70 years old, Simmons is a force to reckon with.
Name a venture, project idea or merchandising opportunity, and he’s probably tried his hand at it. Many of his projects have ended as spectacular failures. Just enough have become runaway successes for him to amass a fortune.
(This horse alone is worth beating to a pulp, as most of us seem to have an invisible threshold for rejection and failure.)
Anyway, it shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that Simmons has even jumped headlong into the writing and publishing game and has done quite well at it besides (the Kisstory series of books stand as a monumental achievement all their own).
This brings us to the topic of this post – Sex Money Kiss (affiliate link) – not the only book Simmons has penned, but a good one, to be sure.
The Writing – Tone, Voice, Quality
Simmons is more than an adequate communicator, and his writing reflects it.
From the opening paragraphs, it’s clear that this was not a highly polished, slick, ghostwritten book (like the ones I produce), but rather a tome developed from the ground up emphasizing the perspective of the author, in his own voice. To that extent, some minor typos (I always find them) are forgivable, too.
Surprisingly, I found Simmons’ voice to be matter of fact and fatherly – someone willingly dispensing important life lessons he’s learned on his journey as if to a child. Of course, this could be my bias about fathers as much as anything else.
Perhaps you might expect a harsher tone from someone with such a steely gaze, but no, author and marketing guru Dan Kennedy has far harsher words to say about “common folk” in his marketing books (which I delight in like a little schoolgirl – “dialog with the dead”, I laughed my ass off).
Speaking of Kennedy, it was because of his Speak To Sell (affiliate link) book that I even learned about this seminal work by KISS’ tongue-wiggling Demon.
Getting back to that writing piece, the reader would be well-advised that in Sex Money Kiss, Simmons dedicates entire chapters to his philosophy regarding relationships and marriage, and even goes off on numerous tangents about his various side projects at will (especially in the afterword section, which isn’t coherently organized).
For the most part, the reader isn’t worse off for this, however, as it just means more time in the mind of one of the most successful rockers of all time.
Pros – Powerful Discoveries You Can Make Reading This Book
A classroom full of kids could read the same book and come away with 30 distinct opinions and thoughts on what they just read.
So, what you’re going to get from reading it (should you choose to), is probably going to be different from what I got out of it.
Still, I thought I would share the key things I found most beneficial. Let’s get into it.
His Mindset Around Money & How He Made His Fortune
If you don’t know how Simmons amassed his fortune, then this book will likely make it clear. And, should you choose to follow the principles outlined, I have no doubt you’d also be able to make more than you’re making now.
Having gone into this reading with an open mind, I discovered a great deal for myself around money.
And, just last night, I must have stayed up until 5:30 AM tossing and turning, reading the book, writing down project ideas I’d either abandoned or had yet to finish (along with new ideas I wanted to give a try), until finally I finished reading the book.
I couldn’t get to sleep anyway, but truth be told, the book was that good.
If you can’t seem to generate enough ideas, this book should get you pointed in the right direction.
His Beliefs Around Failure
Simmons has been described as “delusional”, and I think he’s even referred to himself in that manner.
But his mindset towards failure is something we can all learn from. And, the way he talks about his projects (e.g. this hasn’t happened yet, but it will – just you watch), is how we should all talk about our projects as musicians – with confidence and sureness.
I don’t know if Simmons is fearless, but he certainly appears that way. He chooses not to use assistants, makes his own phone calls, and in practically every way possible, cuts out the middlemen so he can extract the greatest profit and value possible from every project launch. And, he sets himself up not to lose, something the best entrepreneurs and investors do.
When something fails, it fails. It doesn’t stop him.
It shouldn’t stop us either, even though the results can appear catastrophic and heartbreaking, especially when we’re new to failure.
Dust yourself off. Pick up. Move on. Take another chance. You won’t hit a homerun every time. Simmons doesn’t either.
His Philosophy Around Relationships & Marriage
This content is probably a “take it or leave it” scenario, but Simmons is a truth teller of the highest order, and, no one is going to stop him from enlightening you on how men and women are different, or how marriage is a financial transaction first and foremost.
Truth be told, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve watched Gene Simmons Family Jewels (of which I mostly have fond memories), but it certainly challenges the status quo, and the way most people were brought up to think about relationships and marriage.
Either way, I still came away feeling like I discovered something important while reading.
Cons – Minor Nitpicks
Overall, I think the book is great. It’s not perfect, and most books aren’t.
Whether you agree or disagree with Simmons’ philosophy is kind of moot, assuming you get something for yourself out of the reading.
As a reviewer, however, if I painted the rosiest of pictures about the book, merely because I wanted to extract your money, would be to do you, the potential reader, a major disservice.
So, I’ll offer a few nitpicks here:
It’s Kind of Long
The book has a total of 264 pages. I’m not sure exactly how many words that amounts to (it can vary based on font size and formatting), but I would guess it’s probably in the 80,000 range. Translation – this is not a short read.
And, while I do believe in staying with ideas for longer, as a book prompts you to do (there’s immense benefit to this), there’s a bit of an enough already factor at work here.
Again, this is just one man’s opinion, and you may feel otherwise, should you explore the resource for yourself. But you shouldn’t expect any less when you leave Gene at a typewriter.
Again, I think most of his tangents are fine and even entertaining.
The only trouble is that he kind of ends up repeating in the main text what he has already established in sidebars.
Who said writing was easy, anyway? It’s not. I make mistakes all the time.
But if nothing else, the tangents are often accompanied by photos and images, so that keeps the book moving along.
His Philosophy Around Relationships & Marriage
I guess you could say this is a double-edged sword.
If you’ve got an open mind, you’re bound to learn something from Simmons’ perspective. At the same time, some readers are probably going to get their panties in a bunch and aren’t going to get passed these early chapters (which, to be honest, is unfortunate, because he brought the goods here).
Let me put it this way – he stated his opinion clearly, but he didn’t necessarily need to spend so much time on it.
Final Thoughts on Sex Money Kiss
In all, I probably got through Sex Money Kiss in a matter of three or four days. Considering its length, that’s impressive. It means it held me captive for longer stretches of time.
The last book that had that kind of effect on me was Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link).
Likely, you’re not going to love everything about the fire-breathing, bass-slinging Demon’s book. It offers several counterintuitive ways of looking at the world.
Arguably, entrepreneurs necessarily need to look at the world a little differently to effectively insert themselves into their chosen market, but that doesn’t mean you need Gene’s lean, mean, paradigm shifting machine.
Still, if you need a serious kick in the butt, as we all do from time to time, then I would posit that Sex Money Kiss (affiliate link) is the next book you need to put on your night stand, crack open, and only come up for air as required.
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Well, it’s been two weeks since the last episode. How are you doing? Is everything okay in your world?
In this episode of the podcast, I share a few things that will make you go “hmm…” about the coronavirus. If you are easily offended, it’s okay to give this one a pass.
- 00:18 – Why I generally stay away from mainstream topics
- 00:33 – Things that make you go “hmm…”
- 01:01 – Wishing you well in these uncertain times
- 01:43 – Disclaimer
- 01:49 – Observations about the coronavirus
- 03:35 – Word of encouragement
There’s a reason why I typically stay away from mainstream topics. It’s because my opinions are unlikely to reflect those who believe what they hear in the news.
And, when your opinions don’t line up with something practically everyone believes, you quickly become a target for ridicule.
So, in this podcast episode, I’m going to take a slightly different approach. I’m going to share a few observations and sentences that might make you go “hmm…” about the coronavirus.
Although I’m not Mark Twain, I’d like to think that if he were still around, he may have said some of these very things.
These observations aren’t meant to offend. They aren’t meant to get your panties in a bunch. They’re just meant to make you think critically about what’s going on in the world.
These are uncertain times. And, I’m not unsympathetic. I have personally been self-isolating for over two weeks. With travel bans and inter-province travel being discouraged, I’m opting to stay in Calgary, because no matter where I go, I’m just going to be self-isolating for the foreseeable future.
But enough about me.
Cordially, I hope you are well. I hope your family and friends are well. I wish my very best to anyone who has been directly and indirectly affected by this pandemic.
While I don’t think we’re headed straight for Armageddon to begin with, I want you to know that there is hope. Things are going to get better.
So, with that, I’m going to get into some things that will make you go “hmm…” but if you’re easily offended, this is the time to shut off this podcast episode. Fair warning.
Observations About the Coronavirus
The only way toilet paper is going to save you in the apocalypse is if god himself accepts it as currency.
Instead of buying toilet paper, consider buying books. You can be educated, entertained and inspired by the content on the inside, and worse comes to worst, you can use them as toilet paper too.
Alcohol takes the lives of up to three million people annually, and yet we don’t shut down the world to analyze the situation.
Car accidents result in roughly 1.35 million casualties each year, but you don’t see anyone trying to put the world on lockdown to solve the issue.
Each year, the flu takes the lives of 16,000 to 61,000 people. So far, we’re right on track.
The most common way for a virus to spread is through horizontal transmission, which includes contaminated transfusion and needle sharing. Yet everyone is in a hurry to get the vaccine.
If vaccines worked and gave you immunity, why would you care about those who are unvaccinated?
The government is offering employment insurance, subsidies and loans to individuals and businesses right now. What’s stopping them from taxing the hell out of us next year to recoup costs?
If the pandemic is just a massively publicized distraction, then the thing you should be worried about is what’s going on behind the scenes.
Everybody’s staying inside, where we’re allowed to be. The thing we should be worried about is what’s going on outside that we’re not allowed to see.
School’s out for summer. School’s out forever.
Telling creatives to stay home is like telling them to go and be more productive. Here’s some time to do what you love. Go do it!
So, with that, I’d like to close another episode of the podcast.
No matter where you are, and no matter what’s going on in your world right now, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you my very best.
This is a great time to think and reflect, set goals, make plans, strategize, connect with friends, create new connections, practice, write, record, publish and more. It can be an opportunity for you to achieve the things you’ve been meaning to get to.
Take care, be well, and don’t overdo it.
This is David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world… when they’re open again.