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!

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.

How Do You Measure the Impact of Your Social Media?

Everyone knows that social media is crucial to spread your music to the masses. Many use Facebook, Twitter, WordPress obviously, Youtube, Pinterest, Tumblr and other micro-social media sites such as Posterous or Quora to connect their audience and promote their music. Yet, to constantly expand the reach of your social media you need to effectively measure what type of posts result in the greatest response. Once you’ve determined what is most effective in engaging your network you can post only highly interactive content in your media. So how do you measure the impact of your social media?

With each of your social networks you can try different posting strategies from week to week and month to moth to see which results in the greatest interaction. For each type of social media there are ways to do this for each network.

Twitter: Look at your number of followers, number of times your hash tag is used, and the number who retweeted your posts. Also www.TweetReach.com and www.mytoptweet.com are great tools to measure Twitter exposure.

Facebook: Look at your Reach and People Talking About You in Facebook Analytics to see how many impressions your ads and posts are getting. Also look at the number of likes and comments on individual posts to get a more detailed picture of the engagement of each post. Facebook Insights is great because it provides you not only your reach but also the composition of your audience. This helps you tailor posts to your audiences age and other demographics.

Youtube: Track views, thumbs up, shares, number of ratings, number of comments, and number of subscribers to determine social reach.

Blog: Measure number of visitors, the number of people following you, and number of posts to other blogs you made and the resulting referral traffic.

Website: Google Analytics is the king for website analysis. Also, hosting servers such as 1and1.com will usually have some basic tracking on visits to the websites they host. Yet, unlike more simple site tracking, Google Analytics actually gives the number of unique visitors which is the true size of your audience as oppose to just counting visits where one person can count as multiple visits.

Email: Look at how many people opened the email relative to the number who received it and then how many clicked through the link in the email. Mailchimp.com has great tracking and mail campaigns you can send to your contact list for free.

Finally you need to determine the number of conversions. This can be liking a page, subscribing for a newsletter, or purchasing a product. The conversion rate is the percent of people who actually do the intended final action relative to the total number of visitors.

Sites like Klout.com give a rating on overall social exposure and wildfireapp.com’s Monitor feature enables you to compare your Facebook and Twitter’s to other accounts. Also you can measure your influence on sites like www.socialmention.com, www.radian6.com, and www.lithium.com. Really neat tools!

When considering your influence not only is the number of posts, comments, and shares considered, but also the social reach of those people having that interaction.  So, interacting with those users with the largest following, whether its Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook, results in more people liking and interacting with you. The users with larger more dedicated fan base mean more influence your media has on the social network. Make sure you continually analyze your efforts to improve results in social media. Happy twittering!

Music Education Program With South Broward

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South Broward High is a Marine Science magnet school located in Hollywood, Florida. The student population is approximately 2,300 and is very ethnically diverse. In addition to marine science, the school has a diverse art program which includes drama, art, band, and music classes. The founder of the Studio, Jon Kowalsky, is an alumni from this high school and saw the great work that South Broward’s teacher’s and art programs provide for their students.

South Broward High School’s mission is to provide each student with a quality education, in a safe and secure environment, through personalization and a rigorous curriculum. To further this mission, the school has begun revamping their music program with new supplies and instruments. It is critical that this school is able to pay for the necessary supplies to effectively educate their students; and this is where the Studio comes in. From August 15th to November 15th a portion of all download and music subscription revenue will help this school get the necessary supplies for their music program. Simply by purchasing a song, album, or music subscription you are helping to educate the next generation of musicians.

Want to get your school involved with our Music Education Program? Simply, email the name of the school and a contact number so we can verify them for the program.

Touring Tips: 3 Things All Artists Should Know to Route a Tour

“The life I love is makin music with my friends I can’t wait to get back on the road again” – Willie Nelson

Good Relationships with Venue Owners, Managers, and Booking:

The biggest misconception about business is that it is about making money; when in fact business is not at all about making money. Business is about building good relationships and money is the residual side-effect of these good relationships. Therefore, if you want to do well in the music business you have to maintain good relationships with the people you work with. The best way to maintain relationships is to continually create win-win-win situations; make you playing at a venue a win for the audience, a win for the venue and event organizers, and a win for your band.

So we know how to make it a win for the band (get good pay, play a good venue, play good music, and have a good crowd) and we know how to make it a win for the fan (play good music), but how do we make it a win for the venue and organizers? The answer is to satisfy the booking person, the manager, and the owner. Particularly with smaller venues and bars the owner, manager, and booking person for an establishment may all be the same person. If that’s the case then you need to do all the things I am about to describe for that person; yet assuming they are all three different people there are things you should do for each to keep them happy. For the person who booked your band, they want good music attracting large crowds, so promo and practicing the music is the key. Also, do not forget to introduce yourself and show gratitude when you get there if they are at the venue that night. The manager wants large crowds and “drinking responsibly” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), so make sure to bring people who won’t start fights and destroy the venue. And then, the owner wants all of these things but it is best to just try to relate to the owner in a personable way. Try to find something to relate to the owner on whether its sports, movies, or music, just find something that will get them talking. When you relate to the owner in that type of way the next time your band comes up he will just remembered that you all had a great conversation about Led Zeppelin. Then, the manager and booking person can act as advocates for you who already have credibility with owner and tell him that you played great music, you brought a crowd, and the venue had a successful night. With the vote of confidence from his team the owner will not only want to rebook because you’re a nice person but also because his people have convinced him that your music is also good for business. Also, it’s particularly good to be in with the owner as he is the final decider in any increased compensation that you could get from a renegotiated deal after you have played somewhere multiple times.

Be Geographically Smart:

If you are routing a tour through the south the Midwest and the northeast do not bounce from Atlanta to New York to Nashville back to Philadelphia back to Chicago and then through Baltimore. Instead, be geographically smart. If you are doing those cities for instance go in a big circle, so that you go ATL to Nashville to Chicago to New York to Philadelphia to Baltimore and back. This will greatly reduce the amount of gas money spent and driving hours wasted for your tour. Another important aspect of being geographically smart about booking your tour is that you should route geographically dense tours where you’re never driving more than 8 hours. So, for instance, Chicago to NewYork is quite a drive but you break it up on the way by doing a show in Cleveland or Detroit, or even the trip from Nashville to Chicago you can break up with a show in Cincinnati. The beautiful part of touring in this big country of ours is that you rarely drive more than 8 hours, except in Texas, to get to the next major city you could perform in (Disclaimer: no offense was intended to Texas but yall have a big state, about 13 hours east to west driving).

SMART Goals:

All tours should have SMART goals; these goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented (meaning there is a set of actions you must take to reach the goals), Results-Oriented (meaning that those actions must aid in achieving a desired result), and Timely. For most businesses a timely offering would sell winter cloths in the winter and ice cream in the summer time. Yet, in the case of music it is a little different because it’s always the right season for music. So, timely in the case of touring music is about doing it in a timely fashion. If you have 20 shows it is much better to have a 30 day touring schedule than a 100 day touring schedule; of course, you don’t want a show every night because you’ll burn out but you also don’t want the show dates too spread out because every day off day on the tour is an extra day you’re paying for hotel and transportation. So, doing a show no less than every other day reduces the cost of the tour and therefore increases the profit from the tour.

Interview With Jay Thomas from Bluejay

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What type of music does your band do?

Tallahassee has dubbed us soul pop. Sooouuuul pop, they added the soul part. It’s lovely for them to say. It’s a lot of everything. It’s been important to me that my songs can be sung aloud, and sung back to me. At this point, it’s been important to truly emote, and I think the soul comes from the emotion behind the songs, which I want people to remember. So, the pop comes from remembering the song, or the catchiness, and the soul comes from the performance.

 

Where is your band from?

We are originally from Miami but we work out of Tallahassee and I owe my music to Tallahassee. I will always represent Tallahassee.

 

What are 3 artists that you admire or aspire to be like? How is your music similar and different from those artists?

HR Giger. I love HR Giger. He is an artist of landscapes and I’m very into creating landscapes with music and sound. I would say that Ani Difranco’s urgency has inspired me to deliver my message potently. Im just trying not to say Tori Amos (chuckles). I got to say Tori Amos. The way she connects at the source and plays music from the source, is what I take from Tori Amos. It’s not staged. Tori Amos’s music live is not staged. It is purely there in that moment and I like that. I really aspire to that.

 

What is the best piece of advice you could give to aspiring artists?

I don’t feel qualified to give advice at this point. But I would say if I were to give advice I would say in creation make sure that it connects with something deep and real within you. If you want to write a song and sing it for years, make sure that it’s connecting with something that your life keeps experiencing. Not particularly one experience but something that you can always go to that song and feel it and it becomes a vehicle for something that you feel often or something that is deeply felt within you.

 

What do you think the best way to find venues are? What about recording studios?

Other bands. Other bands that sound like you. With recording studios, it’s good to work with someone you know. It’s good to know someone who’s going to commit to recording what you want to portray. If you meet someone who is the ink and you want to write something down, they will do it for you, and they will benefit and you will benefit.

 

What are ways you promote on and offline?

I tell this to bands that I know. When we came out with Goblins, the debut album from 2010, we posted posters all over our hometown, Tallahassee. Out of online, it’s putting posters everywhere, it’s pretty general. Online, I would say that I just try to deliver content. Content always. Not thoughts, not Demos, content. I like to finish something and then present it.

 

What makes music special to you?

Music is the most important thing in my life. What makes it special is that … oh, its almost impossible to say really. What makes it special to me is that it’s irreplaceable. I defend it. I defend it strongly. It’s the one thing that’s not a human that I defend like a family member and it can get me into debates.

 

What do you mean debates?

For example, my father is a Ron Stewart impersonator and often he suggests artificial ways of going about things. I asked him to play flute on Mercury, the new album, and he suggested the keyboard and I yelled at him. I’ve told him time and time again that I’m not going to use artificial things. If I use artificial things it better be artificially real like an electronic beat that cannot be done otherwise. I defend it. I defend music harshly. It’s special. I’m not into artificiality unless were going to go all the way with that. If we’re going to go all the way with that I’ll match it with lyrics. I’m not going to match my lyrics so far particularly with an artificial beat. It wasn’t created that way. I would like to create dance music in the future or something like that, but I’m not about to add an artificial beat to my live show.

 

Where do you get your inspirations for your songs?

Life, life, life. Ya know, life, that’s it. “Lucy”-Lucid dreams, “Tallahassee”- living in Tallahassee, “Boogeyman”-being cheated on, “Bruisey Brookie”-a theme song for my friend, “Fluorescent Green”- relying on a partner, “Black Cherry Blood”-not trusting that partner. Yeah, anything that pisses me off (chuckles) or makes me feel amazing. Tallahassee makes me feel amazing, it’s a beautiful place. My music would not exist without Tallahassee so I wrote Tallahassee song. When anything boils over it needs to be written down. And now I’m going into a state where I’m going to start writing about stuff that I’m not going to be able to tell people exactly what it’s about because I feel like I’ve been very explicit so far and stuff has happened recently that I think I’m going to choose to be a little poetic or a little grounded about it. What inspires me to write music is anything that I feel so harshly that I have to sing about it for years. Ya know, being cheated on at the same party that I was at will always make me want to sing the song “Boogeyman”. I was there. I was in a different room and that man was getting someone else’s number. I always want to sing that. That will be the song that represents that feeling. And I think even songs like “Bruisey Brookie” that are really specific about one person, Bruisey Brookie represents pop art, at its most specific it represents my friend Brooke, and at its most large it represents pop art.

 

You mentioned being more poetic and less literal. Are the subjects you choose difficult to talk about to the public?

I feel like, on Goblins, I’ve written about topics that are easier to talk about. It really takes an audience sometimes to be able to go into the deeper subjects and the songs on Goblins were written in real life. I was hanging out with my family the other day and I can play Tallahassee song in the middle of the night and it gets them going, I can play Bruisey Brookie and it gets them going, I can play Boogeyman and it gets them going. The songs on Mercury that are coming, I don’t play “Downloading You” all the time. I do play “Burnin’ Soul” a lot, that’s the song about my mother. And that’s definitely a hard subject I’m going to explore more or explain more. My mom died when I was 12 and it wasn’t just that. It was a pretty shite situation. So I’m sure I’ll be dealing with that in music a lot more. But music is a conversation. So, you don’t go to a party and go “my mom died”. So, now that they’ve been introduced to me, now that people have been listening to Goblins, I feel like I can tell them more. It’s a conversation.

 

It’s interesting you say it’s a conversation, how do you get feedback?

Fan feedback has only really started since Goblins and the live shows. I think feedback is something that multiple opinions come in and you just interpret them. Here’s a good one, my dad said for example, “Your catchiest song is about marijuana” (Scottish accent)(chuckles), with “Garden Girl” on Goblins, and it is one of only two songs with a repeating chorus on Goblins. So, I definitely thought I could repeat something if I really mean it. And the songs on Mercury, I mean what I’m saying and it’s important for people to hear it. So, I think the feedback from Mercury will be more politically exciting than Goblins. Goblins is more personally exciting but I’m starting to write about stuff that I think people will feel in their political/personal lives.

 

In your time as an artist, what is one thing that you’ve learned that could help other artists out there?

When I was learning poetry at FSU, they didn’t necessarily judge if a poem was good or bad. In order to be a poem, it had to be true. I would say if you take the time to write a song that is true it will always be true to you and others will understand that truth.

 

If there was one thing that you could tell your fans, what would it be?

Support my bloddy kickstarter when it comes out because I don’t want to play shite bars forever. Mercury. It drops this year 2012.

 

So you’re using kickstarter to fund the album?

I don’t know if were using Kickstarter yet, or another fund raising site. We’re doing something where we can raise some money and release it. We got the music done, but there’s always that last push. There’s a few out there, there’s Indiegogo, there’s Kickstarter, there’s other ones I’ve seen.

 

Tell us about your upcoming album, when is it coming out?

Ya know, when you’re indie, it never comes out (chuckles). Mercury will be out some time this year. We are dealing with mixing and videos. Stuff so that people can understand the statement I am trying to make. And I’m not just about releasing 10 songs that I’ve written. I’m about making a statement and creating an aesthetic that is gorgeous and beautiful. I love that so much in other artists that I aspire to create an aesthetic with Mercury. I think that I’ve created an aesthetic and a feel and I want to make sure that’s delivered correctly. And it’s coming out this year but it’s hard to determine the month because everyone’s got day jobs (chuckles).

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Love everyone that’s listening. I love all of you. Thanks for listening.

 

Stay connected with Bluejay and Check out their music at

https://twitter.com/bluejaysongs

https://www.facebook.com/bluejaymusic

http://www.youtube.com/bluejaysongs

Stay connected with Bluejay and many more independent artists at Studio120Music.com