May 5, 2009
The music business is all about relationships. Allow me to explain why it's so hard to catch a break in this business. Having undeniable material and talent is only half of the uphill battle of getting a major placement. The other half is building good relationships with OFFICIAL people. There are so many imposters in this business and it's no different than the streets. It's a hustle! So just like the streets you are going to come across a lot of FRAUD and MIDDLEMEN that will attempt to swindle you into believing they will make you successful.
Once you've PERFECTED YOUR CRAFT, the next step is to do your homework on who is who. As a producer or a writer, you have to surround yourself with a good team. Your main focus should be to make tracks or write songs and your manager's job should be to get it to the right artists or A&Rs.
Like I stated in part 1, remember that you are competing against industry vets and hungry and upcoming producers and writers like yourself. Some of the upcoming producers and writers might not be as talented as you or have better material, but they might have a better team of managers and that is why they are able to catch a break.
Also, understand that most of the industry veteran execs and managers came up together. I'm part of the new generation. I'm still on the road to becoming a future mogul. So all of the producers and writers that I deal with now, I will make sure to look out for in the future. But, at the end of the day, they have to deliver. My job and reputation are on the line and I refuse to do any favors that will cost me my job. It's the same with the veteran execs now. They have their own team or "Go To Men/Women" that they work with and there is nothing wrong with that as long as those people constantly deliver. I used to be the "MAD MANAGER" wondering why all the execs would run to the household names. Now being in those shoes, I realize that the household names or veteran producers/writers know how to give you exactly what you are looking for. Where as the new and upcoming producers/writers are still learning how to do that and may take longer to deliver.
It's all about relationships. It's six degrees of separation. It's a small industry of execs, but there's a plethora of talent. When playing basketball, I thought I was the man because I was the best in my neighborhood. It wasn't until I went away to basketball camp that I realized how good I needed to be to make it to Division 1 basketball. There's a whole world of talent out there and that's what I think you guys need to realize. Shooting for a placement for a major artist with no idea of the sound or direction of the album is like trying to hit the bullseye on a dart board from 30 feet away in the dark.
I started out managing new producers and writers. I wasn't affiliated with anybody with a household name. I went to every music conference and I would be one of the guys to rush the panelists once the panel was over. But as my understanding of the music biz grew I realized that I needed to be patient. I was Gung-Ho. I swore I had the hottest material, but honestly as I look back now, it was just mediocre. I didn't have an A&R ear as a manager. I was just submitting whatever my clients created. Some days I sent in up to 15 beats at a time, 10 different songs with no specific project in mind. As my understanding grew, I came to realize that I had to affiliate myself with nothing but GREATNESS and that's how I got my start as an A&R.
I was ambitious and anxious but I realized I needed to be patient. Instead of me trying to rush the panelists I realized that's it's always better to be introduced to someone by a CREDIBLE person. I had to learn music industry etiquette. So as I built good relationships with artists and A&Rs, my job became easier and more opportunities presented itself.