Are you an Artist or an Entrepreneur?

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The fact is the biggest artists in the industry are entrepreneurs; Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kenny Chesney, and many more viewed there music career as a Big business opportunity. It is your responsibility to get that same type of vision for your music, you are an entrepreneur and you are the product that you will turn into a multi-million dollar company.

Your first step as an entrepreneur is to understand the concept between employment, small business, and Big business entrepreneurial ventures. An employee exchanges dollars for hours and values security. A small business owner employs people and values independence but stops making income if they stop working (ie doctor, lawyer, sales, etc.). However, a Big business has 500 or more employees and is a money making system which is self-sustained (ie McDonalds, Hamburger University, and Sysco). So, how does this big business mentality relate to our music careers? Think of cover shows as the revenue you receive as an employee in the music industry; maybe it is not exactly your ultimate goal but it helps keeps the lights on. Your original music is the small business, every time you have ever sold a ticket or album that was revenue for “YOUR MUSIC” Incorporated. However, if you stop directly selling and promoting your revenue for that small business would cease. The Big business owners are like the Dr Dre’s of the world that created legacy money which they pass down to generations. Many said that his Audio company had no place, and yet, within a decade he was able to leverage his brand equity as an artists to net almost 1 Billion in personal cash from the sale of that company. Lady Gaga has her Monster perfume, Eminem has Shady Records, Taylor Swift makes insane revenue on all of her merch, but why do you think that is? All of these people figured out there story and differentiator in the music industry and then monetized the brand they created around that story.beats-family

So, remember, all great artists in the industry viewed there music career as a big business from day 1. You must do the same. Viewing yourself as a big business there are a few core elements you must be clear on before you really can grow to the extent you envision in the industry. First, what is the name of your music project? Next, what makes your music and story unique? What is your competitive advantage? What is your 6 month, 12 month, and 24 month plans for growth? What are your goals (ie bring a message to the world, create music full-time, have a passive income from music which pays all my bills, write 200 songs this year, perform 100 shows, bring your message to the world)? What is the long term vision for your music? How will your name and brand communicate that vision? What is your break-even and what will it cost to scale (grow) the business? A good place to start is to answer these questions and perpetually go back to these questions to make sure you are continually aligning yourself with that vision. Once you know the finances, marketing, and plan for growth for your music the sky is the limit in growing your empire. Plus it is a million times easier to ask these hard questions of yourself and your music now then it is to try to change and readjust course with a band name or logo which wasn’t a true reflection of the vision or sound of your music. Trust, this stuff is crucial and it’s what the big wigs at Universal and Sony are looking for to get involved with independent acts. Much love fam!

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What Musicians Can Learn from Ray Kroc

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Do you know who Ray Kroc is? Do you know what McDonald is?

Ray Kroc is the business genius who bought the McDonalds franchise from the McDonalds brother and developed his empire from the systematic burger assembly line. Yet, they didn’t invent burgers so what is it about Ray Kroc and McDonald’s that made this burger joint so special? It was a simple system of duplication of business owners.

Once Ray Kroc owned the rights to McDonalds he began franchising other locations and training all the owners how It a while but once he was set up he created a system to serve the masses and he did. At first he was still in the small business category because he was having to go around training all the business owners in order for the training to be consistent. So, he created Hamburger University for new Franchise Owners to get consistent training independent of Kroc. Yet, once all the training was consistent and it started to go national, all the different meats and supplies had no consistency which hurt the brands equity. So, crafty Kroc partnered with Sysco to be the sole supplier for all McDonald’s products.  Today, McDonalds grew Sysco to massive proportions and McDonald’s has over 35,000 locations worldwide and the Kroc family now have Legacy money, money that will never go away, that will grow in perpetuity, and that is passed from generation to generation. Below is a chart which shows Kroc’s franchise model.

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So what can we learn from Ray Kroc as musicians? It is very simple. It doesn’t matter whether offering burgers or music Ray Kroc taught the world how to make a big business which can truly free you from your 9 to 5. It is our job in our music careers to utilize these big business concepts of systematization, duplication through business owners, partnerships with a larger supplier, and the value of consistent training. Systematization creates profitability and quick growth. Partnerships and duplication from mentoring others results in multiplication of your efforts. Many hands make easy work.

Understand that as a musician in the 21st Century you must where all hats and in reality you are trying to build a big business with over 500 employees from your music. Understand that the first people you are privately franchising your career to is your band members, producers, managers, and initial fans. These are the advocates that will help you build a network of people enjoying your music and your story. The more systematic way you can find to mentor these people in growing your organization the quicker the idea of your music can manifest into cash. Think of the biggest in the industry right now, Drake (singer who raps), Taylor Swift (Pop Singer with a hint of country), Lady Gaga (Lil Monster Revolution), and Iggy Azalea (Very Fancy); all of the largest artists and bands built an entire big business and brand around their music. They found a need they were satisfying with their story and then everything about their marketing, crew, product lines, all center around that concept and through duplication they created an organization that can run independently. Do you think Dr Dre wakes up in hot sweats wondering if the new Yelawolf song is going to hit numbers? NO! Dr Dre has duplicated himself through other artists, producers, business owners, and product lines so that he makes Legacy money, money that you make in your sleep, money that you can pass down to your kids, and money that can give you the freedom to just live out your dreams in music. Looking forward to feedback, Much love music fam! FREEDOM!

Why I live the Music Industry Life Jon-K Poet

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My name is Jon Kowalsky, I am the founder and HBO Youth Poet who know performs as Jon-K Poet. During the summer I was 17 I spent 3 weeks in Austin, Texas and it changed the trajectory of my life from being an Engineer. In Austin, I saw the joy and culture and family and beauty that can flower around a city which nurtures art, music, and entertainment. I met a lot of music entrepreneurs who were living the dream and had true holistic success because they had control of time and money. My place in the music industry was forever crystalized on July 4th, 2007.

My roommate and I in Austin went to the Unity Tour with Matisyahu and 311. I was a huge fan of Matisyahu and although I knew his music was incredible I was nervous whether or not my conservative Christian roommate would be able to receive and enjoy the music from this Hasidic Jew. That night, I will never forget my friend and I both singing the lyrics to “King Without A Crown” together. I remember being amazed at how hardline in his beliefs he could be if you spoke to him and yet music gave him the ability to elevate above the words singing praise to Adonai because music is able to communicate love regardless of race, religion, creed, or sexual preference. I saw that that night in Austin. From then on I knew I wanted nothing more in life than to be a successful Music Entrepreneur.

On the way home, I was still thinking about independence and music and changing the world when literally 100’s of Fireworks all started going off in the distance in all directions; every firework like the burst of hope music provides in a world which can sometimes seem so dark. Music has the power to be transcendent: it makes you bigger than yourself, it allows you to transcend your current circumstances, it allows you to give hope and help people you may never meet or be alive to see how you’ve helped, and gives some eternal life by transcending time and space to become true Legends who live forever in their art.  That is why I do the music industry.

Stay tuned for our big announcement this month.