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.


  1. Very well put Serge. The industry does have a closed door policy. If you are not brought in with a credible source, you will remain on the outside wondering why you aren't really in "the business".

  2. Great post. Hindsight is always 20/20 and there is SOOO much that I've learned over the years regarding music biz etiquette and how to hustle my craft. Thanks being an open, honest book for other aspiring music heads to learn from. There are so many that would like you (us) to believe that they never made mistakes... or struggled... or shopped wack music (lol).

    CAU all day baby. I know you're gonna be in the big leather chair with the corner office in no time. :-)

    Summer G

  3. Wow. We never see someone lending anything to any of the up comers in the industry, but the rarest thing is that knowledge. Everyone complains about the state of the music, but no one wants to throw the line down and help some people get up. I don't care what anybody says, I appreciate it man.

  4. Thanks for this post. It was needed. There are so many people who exploit artists and as an artist you just have to be careful who you deal with or have a high risk propensity. I would say expecially in the local showcase arena where promoters claim a certain a&r will be in attendance and that is not the case and they basically sell dreams. So its all a hustle to put yourself out in the public eye but at the same time you have to accept the baggage that comes along with that hustle. Thank you for spreading your knowledge with others.

    Aeon The Ace

  5. The music industry is just like any other corporate america industry, which is unfortunate for up and coming songwriters and producers. A&R's only seem to reach out to people they know, which is not always good at all, because there could be someone that has incredible talent, business models, websites etc and just because they dont know the RIGHT person, they will never be heard. There could be a kid in Wisconsin (im not from there) that has beats that would destroy Dr. Dre in a battle, but because they do not live in NY or LA, they will never be heard. Labels and A&R's not accepting unsolicited material is not always smart, I understand the legal stand point, but come on, not everyone has the money to go out and be represented by a lawyer and such. Industry people should take a risk if they want to hear a new sound from producers and songwriters. Serge, you say people are submitting and they submitting in the dark, well if that's the case shed some light on what people should be submitting for. You will always have to go to your go-to guys if you dont let it be known what your artist is looking for. Sometimes I think the reason its kept a secret is so industry insiders can hook up their boys and girls. Imagine if you were the insider that looked outside of the bubble and found new talent, all because you shed a pinhole of light on what artist you are working with. Now im not saying get on twitter or blog exactly what kind of beat or song you or the artist may be looking for but you could just say Im working with such and such or give clues and listen to the material you received. I bet you would be surprised of the hits you got.

    B. Hawk

  6. Nice Post Serge makes all the sense in the world what you just layed out for cats is so far a pretty good outline of what has been happening in the industry for years to upcoming producers and writers. It's been mostly about who you know in the business from day one, your contacts are very important. Similar to you I attended quite a few music seminars as far back as the Vibe music seminar where I new I had to get out and actually meet people in the industry. I met my music attorney there who 16yrs later did the publishing paperwork for me with Jermaine Dupri's publishing company where I signed on as a producer. So I know what the grind is all about, make those contacts and don't burn bridges cause you never know when one of those contacts will be on that bridge. I haven't met A&R Serge as of yet but I'm sure we will meet soon.

    Bigg Vic

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  8. " 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"

    that is SOOOOOOOOO true