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!

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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.

Myths of Digital Music

In recent years there has been a lot of myths and half truths about the current state of the industry. Many have misunderstandings about how digital music has changed the market. Let me set a few of these misconceptions.

Subscription and Streaming Services Don’t Pay Artists Enough

As an artist this is a very important subject in this digital age of music. Streaming services tend to pay .3 to .4 cents per stream, which is decent when you think of the volume that music is streamed in as oppose to purchase. I will say that it seems company’s like Spotify could pay out more to their artists. Yet this is also an industry in its early stages (keep in mind Spotify only came out of Sweden 4 years back), so we can hope that as less is required in marketing and development a larger portion will go to artists.  In a recent Billboard article they describe digital music as being in a “financially precarious, low margin business” and went on to say, “There are three ways for artists to make more money from this service [streaming music]: a) the service can pay out a greater share of revenue; b) the service can acquire more subscribers; or c) the artist can renegotiate his or her contract with their label. Only b) is likely to happen in the short term, while a) would ruin the company and c) touches upon a larger issue…“ Also, streaming has also been shown to work as a synergistic marketing tool for other revenue sources such as digital and physical album sales and live performances.

No one buys music, especially teens who just illegally download

Actually, more teens (72%) bought some kind of music last year which is greater than the general population (68%). Also, 36% of teens bought an album in the last year and 51% bought some kind of download.

Physical Sales Don’t Exceed the Revenues from these New Digital Revenues

According to the International Federation of Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) “Music Industry in Numbers 2012” report, the digital recorded music market was larger than physical, 2.2 biliion to 1.8 billion. Even major labels are making more in the digital market than physical. Warner Music Group for instance made 215 million in digital revenue and 188 million in physical revenue last quarter. Digital was the majority of revenue even when including licensing, syncs, and performance rights revenues.

I am sure there a lot more misconceptions out there and please feel free to add them in your comments. But generally I think doing the research and looking at the numbers is the right way to form opinions about the music industry or about anything. I know, it’s a novel idea.

 

Get Your Music Heard on College Radio

            Last April, College Broadcasters organized a moment of silence in which over one-hundred colleges simultaneously shut-down their broadcast for a moment. The purpose of the silence was to bring awareness to the lack of university radio funding and the need to adapt to an ever-changing music discovery environment. Stations such as NYU’s WNYU have added their broadcasts to be online as well as on FM stations to expand their relevance. Despite the changing environment in the music industry, college radio remains an excellent promotion channel for the indie universe. The Music Director from WNYU explains that, “We’ve been credited with proliferating numerous bands into nationwide popularity, and with good reason: alternative radio has been, and continues to be, a crucial launching pad for independent artists. The service is inexpensive, if not free, and can serve as vital promotion for a new artist—the trick is getting the MD on your side.”

            Here are four crucial tips for getting your band’s music heard on college radio.

Physical Versions Are Better

I know we all thought digital killed the CD star, but the fact is that most DJ’s prefer to have physical copies in front of them to listen to the music directly. Also, the added benefit of submitting physical demos or albums is that it will enable that radio station to archive your band and your music so that future generations of the station will continue to play and promote your  music.

Know the Station

If your music fits into a particular genre the best thing to do is submit it into a specific program on the station. If you are familiar with the particular DJ from that program, submit to them directly. This is one of the most basic ideas of any communication; know your audience. Knowing your audience can get your music to relevant decision makers and DJ’s more quickly and give them more confidence that you understand the alternative radio submission process.

If You Don’t Have a Distributor Seek One Out

These promoters do more than assist in checking on the status of your submission, whose playing it, and its number of plays. An independent distributor will likely already have an in with the elusive music director you are trying to contact. This independent distributors prior relationship can increase your likelihood and frequency of plays of your song.

Be Persistant Without Being Annoying  

My final tidbit of advice is to be persistent with trying to get your music on without driving the music director crazy. This was general advice given to me by Bruno Del Granado (Ricky Martin’s manager) a few years back with anything in the music business; and it holds true for college radio as well. You need to understand that the university music directors are intensely busy and have lives of their own. Don’t send a million emails and 100 phone calls in two days, you may not get a response that quick, and you may end up irritating that director to the point that he wouldn’t play your music if you were the next Jimi Hendrix. You need to be persistent with your goal, and be patient with the response. I am currently trying to get rotation on WVUM for the band I am managing. So, I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to track down the music director and get them to respond to your emails. Remember, persistent yet patient. It’s a balance between sending enough contact to make sure your band doesn’t fall through the cracks of the MD’s busy day, and being patient enough to let them consider your music for airtime.

Using these steps can greatly increase the likelihood of your band getting airtime on college radio. Can’t wait to hear yall on the airwaves!