Few Examples Of When You Would Use The Slope Formula How To Make It In The Music Business (Not!)

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How To Make It In The Music Business (Not!)

Where to start? How can I rid you of this terrible occupation? Many ignorant people think that any kind of placement in the top ten is a guarantee of easy money, easy sex and hard drugs. Let me state at the outset: most bands are leathery, smelly, low-feed and too broke to successfully engage in sexual convention.

And that’s successful people.

Pop music isn’t a career, it’s an obsession, an excuse not to get a proper, paying job. For me it started in middle school. Since then I have committed many sins against the great goddess Fortuna who has destroyed me ‘never’. Here are the things I need to do. Read and be wise.

1. Start young.

Get a device that’s up to date in your early teens, or don’t bother. By the time you’re old enough to order a pint at a bar or club, you should be smart enough to get a gig there and not embarrass yourself. Assuming you have talent, that is. If you leave it too late you won’t be proficient enough to make a living from your muse.

2. Have talent.

Most people can get by on pop, it’s simple music. However, if your friends and early audiences think your music is ‘all right’, if you make excuses for your performance at every impressive gig, then take a hint! Give up, go back to college, you deluded fool! Better yet, learn a trade that people really _want, _and_ in which you can make good money.

Listen to that still small voice in the night. It is known.

3. Pop music is not art.

In some ways it is the antithesis of art. Artists try to represent their subjectivity authentically. Pop musicians just want to get laid and get paid. It’s vulgar and pop-ulist. This is what gets people flocking to the dancefloor and what they roar on a drunken Friday night.

So don’t beat your own back, Mr Marilyn-Manson-Morrisey-Wannabe. We will not send search parties.

4. Save your money.

One of the worst ways to spend money in this game is in other people’s studios. Most UK studios have under-qualified chancers who say, for example, sure, they can sync two of your workstations to their 24 track tape machine so you can do some vocal overdubs and mix in a 10 hour session. £30 per hour plus VAT.

Five hours in you’re sweating and trying to work out why the vocals are coming so late. In ten hours you’ve got a sick feeling, a lighter wallet, and a less mixed track that will be redundant in a few months because your music got ‘better’, or changed direction. Hell, I feel nauseous even thinking about it. It happened to me. More than once. Take heed, wise boy.

Keep your money to buy your recording equipment. Buy only ‘name’ gear, as it should retain its second-hand value. You can sell it if you want to upgrade, or buy something sensible like a roof over your head. Loot Magazine in London carries free ads for buyers and sellers of almost anything. eBay is good for small items that can be shipped by post.

Second hand is a very good value if it is near new. An electronic device like a car depreciates as soon as it leaves the store. This may be to your advantage. However, don’t buy second hand from anyone who lives in a dirty, dirty flat. “Why not, you fascist?!” suits you Because their presence and attention to surroundings will be reflected in the care of their equipment.

The best type of person to buy for is a nice middle-class, middle-aged English man, who lives in a nice, clean suburban house and who doesn’t take his gear out on the street. Trust me on this one.

If you’re a dance musician, put your money into getting your own bedroom studio together. Find a squat, garage, or blog in an industrial estate room and pad it out if you’re in a band. Anything to avoid shelling out precious lollies.

5. Save energy.

If all the energy wasted on pointless self-promotion by young pop musicians for political causes (for example) eco-warriors wouldn’t be living in trees, and the Tories would be out after their first term. If you, too, must remain under the illusion that one day you’ll be number one in America (or stay close), then do the following:

a) Only play in bands where the members come to rehearsals regularly. Getting angry after these tweets, and calling (“mygirlfriendsayI’m I’mignoringherIwantpaygigsIthinkweshoulddomorecoversetc…”) is a drag. Either fire them or leave the band.

b) Rehearse regularly. Practice makes perfect, sloppiness leads to forgotten songs, bomb notes and terrible gigs. No matter how good you are in practice, be sure that you will lose at least 20% of your efficiency when playing live. And instruments of any nature will break at night, in front of all your friends and the A&R leech you’ve invited.

c) Write songs at home. Practice them there quietly with other members if possible. Send each member (including the drummer) a bare-bones CD-recording and lyric sheet. Have them practice on their own so you don’t waste time and excitement when you’re all together in your pay-by-the-hour studio (or see 3 above).

d) Dismissal of ineligible members. You can only keep them if you have no intention of performing in public, recording, getting radio air-play or getting a record deal. Resist blackmail. If the bass-player has a van and is your best friend but he can’t play in time, give him the boot. You’ll thank me for it later. You can rent a van, and make new friends.

6. Accept every gig offered.

There is no such thing as bad publicity, if you ruin someone’s wedding, hell, at least there is a family that will remember you for the rest of their lives. Do enough really terrible gigs and you might be into something (see: Stooges).

7. Study the top ten.

If you admire and emulate acts in the lower reaches of the top 30 you will never make it far. Selling 10,000 singles a week through the shops that returned the charts was enough to secure you a spot in the UK top thirty, when I was interested in it. How many people will buy your version of popular un-popular music if you copy works with lower reach? Avoid making music to please idealistic journos or your ‘cool’ friends. They don’t buy records anyway.

On the contrary, you should…

8. Write music from the heart.

Live your dream. Choose genres and styles that you feel comfortable with. A well-rounded eccentric noise will get you more fans than a second-rate copy of a top ten hit. And you will enjoy it more.

9. Try every avenue of publicity.

Distribute flyers. ‘Return phone calls. Phone magazines. Put up posters. Strong hands friends. Otherwise you’ll get a one-man-and-his-dog audience. You’ll die, horribly, and you’ll still have to cart your equipment home. You should not be ashamed. A packed gig in a small venue creates a ‘buzz’, where a bigger venue won’t have the same number of people.

Someone once told me there were only 100,000 bands in London, which I think is an understatement. And that doesn’t include bedroom boffins. How do you set yourself apart from all that much? (Do you think if I had a super sexy idea I would put it in this article?) Get dressed, go crazy. Who cares? Just do it.

Any kind of public display is an excellent bit of market research. Track your best first. In thirty seconds you will know whether you have the formula right or not. If it doesn’t work, dump it!

Play only your best songs. Keep your gigs short. End the dramatics, then leave the building. Leave your audience with a positive memory. be mysterious Resist the urge to play two hours of mediocre material and then head off-stage for a pint with the punters in the bar.

10. Talent contests.

Try them, except when they ask for an entrance fee. Think of them as a way to get a well-set-up gig with a different audience. Yes you won’t win, or the prize will suck, or your studio will time bomb (see above) or your single will disappear without a trace, but what the hell unless you pay for it.

11. Release a small number of CDs (if necessary).

i didn’t £2000 quid in the early 90s (which included recording) for 250 copies of an LP (The Vanity!) which I was very reluctant to promote, and didn’t really believe in anyway. All this away. If you are good enough other people will open up.

The same goes for promo videos. You don’t have enough money to make them look smart. Spend money (through music lessons and better equipment) to make your music good enough for others to invest in it. Dance musicians should only press their music if they are absolutely confident they can peddle it to specialist shops or fans without excuses. for this. Dance music tends to be strictly ‘production-oriented’, and relies very little on a good singer to carry the entire track. It can be sold more easily.

Even so, don’t let the thirst to put your own records in your hands unnecessarily drain you of your miserable finances.

12. Management is a good idea.

If he’s not an idiot, a wimp or a bully, and he’s got some energy and connections, take him. It’s a lot of work to write, rehearse, hold down a job/go to college and promote yourself. Remember, a manager is for life, kids. He will get his bit. It is best to be a complete mad animal with a veneer of courtesy and respect. Frighten and charm them at the same time. Think you can do it all. People in the industry are business people, and they don’t want to do business with precious, pseudo-rebellious, poorly educated ‘artists’.

13. Be brutal with your content.

If your songs don’t sound like anything in the top five, or you’re not getting enthusiastic audience response/media reviews/huge following, stop what you’re doing immediately.

Either it sounds like a current hit (last year for rock, six months for dance music) or your audience wants to be like you and have your kids. Anything else is a waste of your youth. It’s POP, as in POPULAR music, remember? If you got both of the above, hey boy, I want you to sign this piece of paper right here, no, don’t bother reading it…

14. And I’ll leave it there….

… because as I said at the beginning, I am a total failure at this lark. Any advice I may give you on record contracts and the like will not be based on personal experience. You’ll find that there are many who don’t let that stop you from bending your ears.

To get ahead, read Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ or Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ and that white book ‘How to Have a Number One’ or something written by the 90’s group KLF. Set you up well for any career, ignore this rubbish. Good luck, anyway, you pathetic fool.

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