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!

The 4 P’s of Music Marketing

“Oh The Times They Are A-Changin

                                                                  —Bob Dylan

Thinking again of your music as a brand, there are Four P’s to Marketing Your Music: People, Product, Place, and Promotion.

  • People: Think of the target group of people, whether in age, behavioral, demographic, etc. that would appreciate your music and how your efforts will attract and expand that fan base.
  • Product: Define the unique benefits of your musical product to the consumer. Physical products include the obvious– like albums and concert tickets. Yet, your music as a brand represents a certain need from your listeners. Whether that need is to laugh, dance, cry, think, or question, is for you as an independent artist to decide. The better you understand the need you fulfill for your listeners, the greater appeal your musical product has. 
  • Place: The places where you sell your product. This can include concerts, street corners, CD retailers, or digital/online platforms. Some people say that ‘Digital Killed the Radio Star,’ but digital media simply provide a new means to sell. Take advantage of this new opportunity and be creative with ways that online platforms can expand your number fans. Recently, a popular independent artist named Mikey Wax offered his new album as a free download through Facebook in exchange for importing Facebook contacts into the fan page. Another independent band, featured in Billboard magazine last month, conducted a photo contest online for fans to get band stickers in the craziest places and post the pictures on the band website. The winning fan won a special signed album, merchandise, and tickets. It is unique ideas like this that allow independent artists to fully exploit the new place for music that the internet provides.    
  • Promotion: Promotion is the various marketing techniques used to advance your music, whether in printed advertisement, public relations, direct marketing, or social networking.

In a changing music environment it is vital to maintain multiple diverse revenue streams. Also, these revenue streams can help build a band fund which pays for recording time, concert expenses, and further promotion efforts.

  • Both online and physical sales of music, merchandising, and concert tickets, music Subscription and other music royalties, ad revenue sharing, cobranding, and benefit concerts expand awareness while creating revenue for your band. These revenue streams are all utilized by major artists to maintain their financial success.

In an ever changing music industry, it is critical to remain up to date on the most recent changes and developments in the industry. Subscribing to music magazines and following blogs, as you already do, are great ways to stay in touch with the industry. Additionally asking friends, family, fellow artists, music engineers, artist managers, venues, and whoever else will listen, opinions about your music is extremely valuable. The fact is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Therefore, you never know how a person’s assistance or insight from any background, musical or otherwise, could help you in getting your music heard. Remaining open to criticism is how an artist is able to continually grow. Taking the best advice on your music and integrating it into your own unique style can take you from indie to legendary.