has any one thought to teach themselves music business

Discussion in 'Music Business' started by inferno, Sep 29, 2007.


have you

  1. yes

  2. no

    0 vote(s)
  1. inferno

    inferno Guest

    surely then we'd have a better chance of maing it right.

    im talking about reading here to help us start our own label, publishing etc.

    Music Business 101
  2. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Wales, Uk
    i have wanted to learn but i preferred to learn from a person who is already in the business but can't find any in my area so im kinda forced to teach myself.

    plus books never teach u the same as a hands on approach
  3. I started in the music business in the mid 70's. I learned rather quickly that it wasn't for me. As with all hardcore freelance type business's it's cutthroat.

    I'm too nice a man....

    I took a civil service job for the security and benefits.

    For instance my friend did a lot of high level work as a drummer and had nothing to show for it. He even signed a hit band as an A&R man.

    He died waiting for a heat transplant, he had NO health coverage and got sick which lead to his heart problems.

    Keep away from that business unless you can deal with the lowest of low on a daily basis, no thanks.

    I even tried boxing and found those people to be one step above the music people if you catch my drift.

    Another friend ended up working at a pizzeria after he lost his record contract. He had to give all the rights to his songs away to get out of what he owed them. His guitar player went on to play with Bowie.

    I even worked as a teenager on a project with Adrian Barber, I was a little star struck but not for long. If you don't know who he is look at all the Cream albums.
  4. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    I'll echo bigdaddybluesman's sentiments. I beat my head against the wall for 20 years playing bars, fairs, community events, etc. but could never get anywhere because:

    1. I didn't have the "right image"
    2. I looked like "an accountant"
    3. I had a wife and I needed to contribute financially (I didn't do that very well)
    4. I didn't buy or sell drugs

    I'm now a golf professional, sober member of AA, and use my God given gifts for Him by playing in the church worship band. Much more gratifiying!

    My advice - use the online services to get your music heard (after all, that is why we do this, isn't it. Not to get rich?) and find another way to feed, house and clothe yourself. I don't like to gamble because the odds are NEVER in my favor. The odds in the music biz are just way too gigantic.

    Good luck.
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Sorry... I beg to differ!

    Of course it may just be in point of view... but to me the odds are just exactly the opposite of gigantic. To me they look to be....

    slim to none
  6. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    To me "gigantic odds" means 30,000,000:1, kinda like winning the lottery.

    My Daddy said:

    "This music thing sounds like a good idea, but wouldn't it be smarter to get a REAL JOB and do the music thing as a hobby?"

  7. JoeJoeMan

    JoeJoeMan Guest

    my 1 cent

    I'll rely a quickie...............and not my own story but another, a friend of mine's story...
    He really wanted to make it, or at least give it a try, in the music business, he definetly had talent, and little by little made some contacts in the business, he then put out a CD on his own and caught the ear of an up and coming national act who needed to replace a few members (humm ?, was my first thought) - and so he was off and running, gave up his happy home and was out on the road. Life quickly soured to say the least, what was promised by the band leader was far from what was delivered, not to mention the leader was a complete butt and impossilble to work with, band members were dropping like flys, and new recruits were being cycled thru. But determined that the band was just a stepping stone he stayed with it and continued to make more friends and contacts in the busines....and so on and so on.......until one day with enough contacts in place he was ready to move to nashville, he felt he had made enough connects to at least get some things going for himself....then reality struck......looking back at the life he had lived and that of the other pro-musicians he had come to know - he decided - "Why the hell do I want to put myself thru that"..........
    He still loves and plays plenty of music, but in essence he is not a slave to the music business and has furthered his education and has a professional career of his own, NOT in the music business, with the satisfaction of knowing that he can tell anyone in the music business - musician or otherwise, to "go screw" anytime he wants. Not to mention he makes lots more money and lives a much more relaxed life. It's a win win situation as they say.......
    And there you have it another success story in the music industry.
  8. It's a business that to make any type of real money you have to sell your soul and self respect.

    American idol is a perfect example, those so called contestants sold their rights as human beings.
  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    has any one thought to teach themselves music business?

    The question is WHY!

    Take everyones advice and do what you love to do but don't think that it will be your only source of income because unless you are really really talented, have a butt load of contacts and can put years into the business you are NOT going to make it. The odds are against you.

    Go to Nashville. Walk down the streets. You will hear an incredible guitar player playing on the sidewalk and you think boy this guy is REALLY good until you walk down the street and hear someone 10 times as good and you think to yourself boy this guy or gal is REALLY good until you walk down the street and ad infinium...... The moral is there are some really really good people with loads of talent who have STILL not made it.

    Not to discourage you but to simply state the facts. The music business IS NOT what it was and IS NOT what many people think it is. It is a lot of hard hard work that MAY OR MAY NOT lead anywhere. The odds are against you but if you want to do it then go for it just make sure you have a good education and something that you can fall back on if things don't work out.

    Best of luck! :shock: = EYES WIDE OPEN
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Tom is right. Keep your eyes wide open. Look around you and try to evaluate who is really making a living by making music. Around here there are plenty of church music ministers and high school band directors who have health benefits and pension plans. The private teachers who make the most money are the ones who think outside the box and run violin academies and steel pan orchestras. There are way to make money in music, but the ones people think of as "the music business" are probably the hardest.
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Oh, I forgot this relevant tidbit. My daughter is a senior in HS, planning to be a music ed major in college. I was sitting in with her and the recruitment officer at the Duquesne school of music. He goes through their four majors: Education, Therapy, Technology, Performance. Gives the (very impressive) placement stats on the first three. Says, "Guess which major I'm NOT going to give you the placement stats on - Performance. If you choose performance, you'd better know in advance that the chances of getting a job are dismal." I wonder if he would have given the same speech if she hadn't said she was going for music ed up front. I kind of think he would have.
  12. JoeJoeMan

    JoeJoeMan Guest

    I'm not one to speak, but personally I've not really gone above the 'local' music scene, but from one I can gather, I'd say this......
    Just look at what goes on at a local level with respect to 'trying to make it' ....it's a constant battle, dealing with flakey musicians, drunk bar owners..constantly hussling your next gig. Losing out on gigs and opurtunities to people with little or no talent, audiences that have thousands of CD besides your's in the store to to choose, not to mention how finiky the public can be, and after 3 gigs at that poplular joint, they are pretty much tired of you, the constant sucking up to people to get gigs, all the phoney good stuff you have to say about other local musicians even though they suck so as other will see you as a 'nice' guy, basically as a musician you are not allowed to critisize other musicians - it's just not cool and you'll be labled a 'know it all' or 'concided', ah it goes on and on, and what do you get for all your trouble and head aches, even if you do manage to pull off a somewhat good go of it - you get crap for money, no benifits, lousy hours, constant grief from your signifcant other.
    Now the worst thing that can happen is that you manage to make enough money to keep doing it as your single source of income, which only prompts you to do it more and avoid getting a real life and job, till eventually you reach and age where you just ain't as popular as you use to be on the scene or you are getting old and weary, THEN what do you do - you're just and old washed up has-been, I got friends like that, they just keep clinking to that idenity - "Why when I was ----", yea yea yea so what, get the picture.
    Anyway transfer that line of reasoning and such that you go thru on the local level up a level in the business and that's what you've got to look foward to.
    It's like getting a job cleaning gutters with your face and buying lottery tickets with your pay - yup sure, no doubt about it, some people do get rich that way, but it's not the kinda odds I'd want stacked against me in my pursuit of happiness.
    From what I've heard there are alot of very jaded people in the "made it" music business, but to the public they never express that.
    Anyway playing and making music is so much more rewarding when you don't have to do it for a living.
    You know if the world wasn't so full of wanna-a-bes and talent was the only thing that mattered, it at least be a more fair world out there but it's not, it's about who you know, who you blow, how much poop you can eat and so on and so on.....
    It's all fun and games when you a kid, gig, travel, party, when that wears off - then what do you do ?
    To tell you the truth years ago I kind of admired the full time musician types now I just kind of look at them as dump losers, especially the local has beens, who basically have nothing to speak of to show for thier life. I might at add that it seems like any of the ones that had enough intelligents and talent to be good at music also were smart enough to get out of it....but the dumb talentless ones stayed in it, which leaves little to be admired as far as I'm concerned.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    "Hey-Ay-Yay I wanna be a ROCK STAR..."

    I only want to be able to write three songs....

    One: The song that replaces "Happy Birthday"..

    Two: The song that becomes the numero uno wedding song..

    Three: The song that replaces "White Christmas" as the all time favorite holiday song.

    My grandchildren will all attend Harvard.

    One of the realities of this business, is its model for the business itself is based on being able to discern the value of the talent and its appeal to a general populace. Since the heirarchy of this business has NO IDEA whatsoever about the lives and loves of the 'general populace', in order to survive, it has to manufacture 'talent' as well as the demand for this 'talent'........If you do not fit into a narrow catagory of looks, desire, talent, workability(I'll 'splain this later), and several other factors, you are NOT going to be a player in this industry. An industry that even in this 'downturn' rakes in as much as the GNP of several major countries.

    Do you think for a minute that they are going to open the doors to the vault to just anyone?

    I have a question to add to this discussion. I want ALL of you to consider this carefully before answering. Here 'tis........

    Will there ever be another Elvis?

    Why or why not?

    Will there ever be another Beatles?

    Why or why not?

    I have tried to make it several times. The problem being, for me, I would not give up my family for all the gold in California. Its probably a good thing that I came from a working class of upbringing. Many artistic and talented people have ZERO work ethic about them. Most have failed or will fail because of this. Its one thing to be a great performer, songwriter, arranger, instrumentalist...and another entirely when this talent is not balanced with the ability to apply oneself to the task at hand.

    I have played 'on the road'....As a living. It requires a certain personality to do this with any success. Even in the smallest venues....I've seen a lot of people burn out rather quickly on this life.....people who could really play and yet they didnt have it in their makeup and their nature to move past even the most basic part of selling themselves to strangers ..Its basically what touring is about...its a sales job. I ALWAYS enjoyed it. I got to play golf courses I never would have seen....I got to drink scotch with very interesting people....hmmmm...maybe 'odd' is a better word...I got to see parts of this country I never would have gone to in a normal job...It was an adventure. BUT....you cant raise kids from the road. Unless you're at seven figures and everything is provided for you as you require it.

    My take on this whole thing is this.....being an artist means you got a bit more of that part of 'the stuff' than other people. Since I truly believe that we all have the same amount of 'stuff' and that its distributed in different amounts in each person, having the artist part means you're probably deficient in some other part. Artistry is a born trait, whereas work is a learned one. I have been fortunate to have work as something to fall back on and survive with. It is also probably the reason I never really 'made' it. I had a way out and always took it in order to feed and clothe my family.

    Now, the family all has family. I have a really good rockin band that plays every weekend we want to. We NEVER scramble for gigs....we turn down a LOT>>>We play some nice gigs that pay well as well as playing those dives that pay the same now as in 1974. We all know our craft and all play well together. We have great time doing it. We will make records.....will we reach for the sky?? Probably not, but we do have the means to make product and make it well. AND we're out there selling it often. Who knows.........

    I also have an original band that DOES make records yet doesnt play out at all. Have we sold a lot of copies? No....but we make good records and have a lot of songs......go figure.
  14. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Davedog asked:

    IMPOSSIBLE! At least as long as corporations control talent.

    There used to be a long cycle in the popular music wave. First it was Sousa, then Glenn Miller, then Elvis, then the Beatles. Note that the span between each of these artists' arrivals gets smaller and smaller as the public gets bored at an exponetially faster rate. I used to spend a lot of time and mental energy while I was holed up in some flea infested motel room somewhere (who knows...) trying to figure out when the start of the next cycle would be and how I could get in on the NEXT BIG THING.

    But society finally reached a point where the turnaround time was so fast that the public couldn't keep up. So the big music machines fragmented pop culture (that way more people could have more idols which meant more record sales split between more labels, etc.etc. You get the picture.

    Now with the advent of internet-based music distribution, there's even more fragmentation. How many sub-genres of Rap or Christian music are there now? I just can't imagine any artist / band gathering a grass-roots following by touring regionally, getting signed, recording a record, and THEN having the promotion machine propel them to stardom.

    Not today. The way I see it workig is, someone at THE COMPANY sees a ripe niche to rape, developes a finite set of parameters within which an artist must perform, finds some poor schmuck or schmuckess to plug into the program "and away we go". The poor schmuck doesn't have the years of road hardening it takes to survive the whirlwind of fame, turns to acting out with whatever controlled substance is currently fashionable (in my day it was blow), and promptly self destructs, and is left with... well.

    There are people out there today with way more technical skill, innovative, creative, thinking than any of the big stars of the past. But why shouldn't there be. Access to all facets of music; influences, training, ease of obtaining equipment, home recording, is so much easier than in Elvis' day. Plus the cultural climate is 180 deg. different than it was then. When I first started playing in bands, very few everyday people played a guitar or drums or bass. People were impressed ( yeah, really) that I could play a couple of different instruments, and that I could do it on stage in front of people. Older folks thought it was nonsense, or worse yet a"a bad influence". Nowadays, nobody gives a s**t that you can play an instrument. Their dads all had a band in college and still jam every once in awhile.

    Elvis, The Beatles, came along at a time when the record labels were cramming pap down the throats of American teens and telling them how cool they were to listen to it. Oh, does that sound familiar?

    Maybe, the time IS ripe for another Glenn Miller. How many years has it been since Run DMC? Hmmm..wonder what the next BIG THING is gonna be, and how can I get in on the ground floor?

    Just another greasy spoon down the road"
    -Little Faus
  15. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Some random thoughts....

    I have seen many statements on the Web that say if the Beatles or Elvis were starting out today they would not the become the stars they became in their time period. The reasons are many but most have to do with the way record companies are run today versus the way they were run in the "good olde days".

    Not sure where the music business is heading but from a mastering engineer's prospective a lot of the music being performed and recorded today would not have made the light of day in the "olde days" because it is poorly written, poorly played, poorly recorded and poorly mixed.

    The question I get most often is "how LOUD can you make it?" not how
    GOOD can you make it sound.

    I think we have traded quality for quantity and low cost productions and it is showing up in all kinds of ways.

    The cost of a CD keeps rising even though DVDs are coming down in price. You can get a DVD with 5 hours of entertainment on it for $14.99. For $18.99 you get a CD with 45 minutes of music on it and only two of the 10 songs are any good the rest are "filler" material. Is it any wonder CD sales are in decline?

    The music industry better wake up before it is too late - oops it is already too late......
  16. I can see I'm not the only one with war stories.

    Being involved in other major things put perspective on the music thing.

    I was in the U.S. Army, tried boxing and eventually drove a bus in Manhattan for the MTA.

    I got a real education from all my endeavors and the common denominators are power, greed and ego. Human nature rules.......

    We all miss a point here too.

    Look at all those who did make it.....

    How many crashed and burned......

    Died early in their lives......SRV, Hendrix, even some lesser know guitar players like Paul Kossoff and Freddie King who was to the best Blues guitarist period, died at 43.

    Became an embarrassment, look at all the actresses on TV with their bad face lifts and collagen lips.

    Look at this Bimbo who just lost her children.....

    Whitney with the best voice ever married to a loser.....what a waste of a voice.

    I respect Grace Slick who really couldn't sing that well, she refuses to do the whole reunion thing. She says it ridiculous, I'm a middle aged woman.

    The Stones are kind of embarassing.......they sound horrible. I can't figure out how a person can play music and not get any better after 40+ years.

    So even if you "Make it", what have you made......a shorter life span? More enemies.......more divorces, more drugs, more sex.....it doesn't look like these people are happier than the average person.

    It's the pure business people who make their money off the artist that really prospers and reaps the rewards of our hard work and love for our art. The lawyers and backers, the hangers on and exploiters they love their jobs. They use you until you have nothing left to give, then you are discarded like yesterday's trash.
  17. JoeJoeMan

    JoeJoeMan Guest

    NO and NO - Why ? very simply said "Rock & Roll" is dead. It's grandpa's music. And it's been hashed and rehashed a millions ways over in the last 50 years. That is to say there is nothing fresh about it anymore.
    Rock & Roll was born from the spirit of youthfull rebellion against the previous generation. Rock & Roll was about a music that was an alternative to their parent's music. With that rebellious nature built into the very heart of the music I find it very strange indeed that the youth of today is still hanging on to their parents/grandparents rock music.
    There won't be another Elivs or Beatles until a new generation breaks with the old and forms their own music, and I have a funny feeling that music, will be defined by its idenity in opposition of the the present - that is to say that it won't include, screaming fuzzy guitars, sceaming singers, bad stage antics, phoney pubicity stunts, tatoos, slick marketing, nose rings, old has been-geezer rock bands that don't know when to quit, and so on and so on, if you get the picture, then and only then when the music goes back to the bottom and starts again will a new start emerge.
    My advice to kids today - forget the Rock & Roll, it's dead, it was grandpa's music, find your own music, you deserve better, find a music that expresses your generation not your grandmother's.
    And by the way there is nothing wrong with singing in tune or playing in time, although it may seem like a lost art these days. Expect more from your performers and you will get it. You've been getting a lot of crap shoved at you for so long now, from your local nobody musician types all the way to the corporate bands, the whole spectrum of rock musicians have been feeding you crap for years, lose them, lose them all, you deserve more. They've degenerated what music could or should be and suckered you into buying it.
    So to the youth of today I say - Lose the tatoos the face hardware, the bad rehased geezer rock, the whole thing. It's your generation be who you are not what your paraents want you to be or listen to. And I'm speaking as one of them - they've lead you down the path to ruin speaking musically and otherwise. They've were very misguided and quite less than honest with you - now you have to go out and find the truth for yourself and express it in YOUR music.
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Theres a very simple reason that todays generations are starting to cling to "Grandpas music"....it is simply better. It has a soul and that has not diminished over all the years. That generation of music was about SOMETHING tangible and real. Unfortunately todays speed of living allows no time for retrospection and thought. Its all about now and the minute now is gone its about the next now. If the current generations dont take a moment to breathe slowly, they're gonna suck all the air right off the planet!

    As to the idea that rock and roll is dead, I beg to differ....Nothing dies that has a SOUL and rock and roll was born with that soul....

    Yeah, I'm one of those old guys that just keeps on rocking. I cant stop because it is a part of me that feeds my soul and my inner self...much like all those fossils that continue to play for fans that still admire them. I see nothing wrong with doing what is a huge part of a life that has been lived and continues to be lived.

    Perhaps your failure to truly understand this is simply because you havent put in the time. When you have done that, you will have a clearer picture of the whys and why-nots that drive so many.

    It never ceases to amaze me that at the shows my 'over-the-hill' rockers play, the young musicians start the evening off with a jaundiced eye and at the end are the biggest supporters of what just went on.

    Its like they just sat through a program of class and culture and cant wait to sign on for the next installment.

    Besides.....we just Rockthefuckouttatheplace. :twisted: 8)
  19. I don't think Rock is dead.

    I think the idea of putting in the time to learn how to make good music is dead.

    Classical music is as popular as ever. So is Jazz, blues and classic rock.

    Country music has been going for decades, it has changed into more of a Southern rock thang but it's still alive. The grand ole' opry is alive and well.

    People still buy CD's of older music and movies like Ray and the one about Cash keep it all going.

    Good is good, great is great and bad sucks. That will hopefully never change, although it goes through different phases.

    As long as people take the time to learn about music and put in the time to become proficient on their chosen instruments music will live.

    As long as the genius of Mozart, Beethoven, The Beatles and yes even The Police, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong and thousands of others are recognized we have hope.

    As a blues/soul/classic rock player I do feel like a dinosaur but I can make good music.

    Maybe someday the bottom line will be more about art and less about making high profits. There's a point when the idea of profits without art destroys the quality of the music and we have long passed that point. Let's hope it cycles back in our lifetime.
  20. JoeJoeMan

    JoeJoeMan Guest

    Hey guys, glad I stirred things up a little....
    I actually didn't mean that R&R wasn't any good, there was some really great music.
    More than being dead, I guess I mean it is a dead-end for the youth of today.
    R&R at it's heart is/was about 'youth', remember - "I hope I die before I get old" - the Who, just as an example. Classical musica wasn't based/built on the concept of youth, neither was blues, jazz, etc - but R&R was. Well I guess the youth of the 60s never thought they'd get old, but get old they did, which then became a conundrum, - what to do about the music that express - over 30 send'em to the camps ('member that) well, the music R&R got pulled along and pulled along, until it is still here today. Hey I grewup on it and played it in bands for years, but I can't do it anymore, not that I don't like it, I just feel like I'm trying to relive my childhood when I do, the music expressed a time and place of the PAST - great - But I don't want to relive that past, listen to it yes, be nostolgic yes - but not relived and speaking to the youth of today it's 2008 not 1969, I say find and create your music.
    Sure Dave - it's got soul, but with all due respect - "So What" - It's dated, personally I just don't find it (R&R) timeless, like jazz or classical music, or etc......and the reason being is that it (R&R) has the inherint attitude build into it, that attitude is, the message it always conveyed --- about throwing off the past, hope I die before I get old, the times they are a changing, etc, etc, etc, R&R dated itself.
    And now all it is doing is rehashing and old and outdate idea. Sorry....How long can we drap the 60's along... Hey I don't doubt people still like it and that the kids today are continuing with it - I understand that, afterall McDonalds is still selling hamburgers after all these years.
    'Pop' music has always evolved and changed since the 1800s, marching bands, to ragtime, dixieland, jazz, etc.....the stars always came out on the leading edges of those evolutions.....nope no new Beatles or Elvis, until there's a new music. R&R is old and stale, I don't care how many people are still eating it, when Ed Bradly from 60 minutes is wearing an earing, things are over, if you get my point, the trend has been beatin' to death. It's time to move on, sorry for the baby-boomers it's time for the youth of today to give us what we gave our parents - as such I tell the youth - take a 180 and head off in the opposite direction. I guess that is a paradox isn't it - the take home message of R&R was - "take a 180 from the past", so kids if you take that message from R&R, in essence the very soul of what R&R was then you need to forget it and find your own music and your Elvis and your Beatles, not your grandparents. It's not about 'us' anymore it's about 'you'
    I hope that before I get to depart from god's good green earth that I do get to see the youth heading off in a new direct with a new music they can call their own and that in the spirit of R&R it complete breaks from the past and is in complete opposition to it. Afterall isn't that what R&R told us to do.
    It's time for the baby-boomers to suck up their own message - it's old, we're old, it's over, give it up ----- Kids throw us in the camps, musicaly speaking, and lead the way.
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