How Much Formula A Day For 7 Month Old How To Make It In The Music Business (Not!)

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

Where do I start? How can I stop this terrible job? 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 say it from the beginning: Most groups are thin, smelly, malnourished and too broken to successfully engage in sexual intercourse.

And those who won.

Pop music is not a job, it’s a passion, an excuse not to find a decent and paying job. For me it started in high school. Since then I have committed many sins against the great Goddess Fortuna which have resulted in my absence. Here are the things I should have done. Read and be careful.

1. Start young.

Get a device early in your 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 able to monetize your museum.

2. Be Talented.

Most people can get past pop, it’s simple music. If, however, your friends and early listeners think your music is ‘good’, if you keep making excuses at your performances every effing gig, THEN TAKE ADVICE! Give it up, go back to college, you self-deceiving bastard! Better yet, learn the trades that people really want, _and_ that you can make good money from.

Listen to that still small voice in the night. It knows.

3. Pop Music is not Art.

In a way it is Art’s antithesis. Artists try to honestly represent their subjectivity. Pop singers just want to get laid and get paid. It is crude and Pop-ulist. It’s what gets people dancing and what they roar to on a drunken Friday night.

So don’t disappear behind you, Mr. Marylin-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 at other people’s studios. Most British studios have poorly trained staff who, for example, if, of course, they can synchronize two of your workstations on their 24-hour tape machine so you can do overdubbing and mixing all in a 10-hour session. £30 per hour plus VAT.

At five o’clock you are sweating and trying to understand why the words are late. At ten o’clock you feel sick, a lighter wallet, and an under-mixed song that won’t work in a few months because your music got ‘better’, or changed direction. Gee, I feel nauseous just thinking about it. It happened to me. More than once. Be careful, smart man.

Put your money towards buying your own recording equipment. Buy only ‘name’ equipment, 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 does free advertising for buyers and sellers of anything. eBay is good for small items that can be mailed.

Second hand is a very good value if it is near new. Electronics, like cars, depreciate as soon as they leave the store. This may be useful for you. DO NOT, however, buy used items from anyone who looks dirty or lives in a dirty, untidy apartment. “Why not, you fascist?!” it’s you. Because their attention to their appearance and their surroundings will be reflected in the way they take care of their equipment.

The best person to buy from is the best middle-class, middle-aged Englishman, who lives in a nice, clean house in the suburbs and doesn’t take his clothes out on the road. Trust me on this one.

Put your money into getting your own bedroom studio if you are a dance musician. Find a squat, garage, or blag room on an industrial estate and fix it up if you’re in a band. Anything to avoid taking out a valuable truck.

5. Conserve Energy.

If all the energy wasted on vain self-promotion by young pop stars had been channeled into political causes (for example) the eco-warriors wouldn’t be living on trees, and the Tories would be out after their first term. If you must persevere in the illusion that you too will one day be Number One in America (or close), do the following:

a) Play only in groups where members regularly come to practice. The whining, and calling after these twits (“my daughter saysImgnoringherIwantpayinggigsIthinkweshoulddomorecoversetc…”) is a drag. Fire them or leave the group.

b) Practice Regularly. Practice makes perfect, slowness leads to forgotten songs, bum scores and bad gigs. Be sure that no matter how good you are at practice you will lose at least 20% of your skill when playing live. And any heat tool will break overnight, in front of all your friends and the A&R leech you specially invited.

c) Write songs at Home. Practice there quietly with other members if possible. Send each member (including the drummer) a CD-recording and a lyric sheet. Have them practice on their own so you don’t have to waste time and interest when you meet at your hourly studio (or see 3. above).

d) Dismissing Members who are unable to work. You can only keep them if you have no intention of performing them in public, recording, getting radio airplay or a record deal. Resist blackmail. If the bass player has a van and is your best friend but can’t play on 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.

Nothing bad was said, even if you ruined someone’s marriage, hell, at least there is a family that will remember you for the rest of their lives. Do enough horrible gigs and you might be on to something (see: The Stooges).

7. Read about the Top Ten.

If you recommend and rate acts at the bottom of the Top 30 you will never get very far. Selling 10,000 singles a week through chart-topping stores was enough to secure a spot in the UK Top Thirty, when I was interested in it. If you’re copying acts from the bottom, how many people will buy your version of Popular Music? Avoid making music to please the journo’s or your ‘cool’ mates. They don’t buy records anyway.

On the other hand, you should…

8. Write Music From the Heart.

Live your dreams. Choose the types and styles you are comfortable with. A big round eccentric noise will get more fans than a copy of the second level of the top ten. And you’ll enjoy it even more.

9. Try Every Avenue of Publicity.

Distributing flyers. Bring back the ‘phones – the phones. Newspapers by telephone. Put up posters. Strong friends. Otherwise you’ll get a man-and-his-dog audience. You will DIE, painfully, and you will have to pack your gear and go home. You must not be ashamed. A packed gig in a small venue creates a ‘buzz’, where someone in a bigger venue, with the same number of people, doesn’t.

Someone told me there are 100,000 bands in London alone, which I think is an understatement. And that doesn’t include sleeping boxes. How will you distinguish yourself from all that number? (Do you think I had a Big Sexy Idea to put in this article?). Get dressed, you’re crazy. What the hell? Just do it.

Public works of any kind is an excellent sub-field of market research. Make your best track first. Thirty seconds into it you will know if you have the formula right or not. If it doesn’t work, DROP IT!

Play only your best songs. Keep your gigs short. Amazing finish, then leave the building. Leave your audience with a positive memory. Be a mystery. FOLLOW the urge to play two hours of mediocre material and chill off stage with a pint and punters in the bar.

10. Talent competition.

Try it, except when they ask for an entrance fee. Think of them as a way to get a good gig with a different audience. You won’t win, or the award will rain, or your studio time will bomb (see above) or your single will disappear without a trace, but what the hell IF YOU DON’T PAY.

11. Release small numbers of CDs (if needed).

I didn’t. £2000 quid in the early 90’s (including recording) for 250 copies of an LP (absurd!) I was very interested in promoting, and I really didn’t believe it. All this ended. If you are good enough some people will be offended.

The same goes for promotional videos. You don’t have enough money to make them look smart. Spend money (on music lessons and better equipment) on making your music good enough for others to invest in it. Dance artists should only press their music if they are sure they can sell it to specialty stores or fans without making excuses. with it. Dance music is strictly ‘production oriented’, and relies heavily on a good singer to carry the song forward. It can be sold more easily.

Still, don’t let your desire to hold your report in your hands cause you to waste your miserable money unnecessarily.

12. Management is a good idea.

If he’s not a madman, a wimp or a hero, and you have some power and connections, take him. It’s a lot of work to write, practice, hold down a job/go to college AND promote yourself. Just remember, the boss is for life, kids. He_will_ get his piece. Better to have a crazy leaf with manners and honor. You scared them and loved them at the same time. Don’t think you can do it all. Business people are business people, and they don’t want to do business with cheap, unrebellious, uneducated ‘artists’.

13. Be Cruel To Your Stuff.

If your songs don’t sound like any of the top five, or you’re not getting a lot of audience response/media reviews/fans, STOP what you’re doing immediately.

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

14. And that’s where I’ll leave it….

… because as I said at the beginning, I completely failed at this lark. Any advice I can give you on record contracts and such will not be based on your experience. You will find that there are many who will not let this stop bending your ear.

Further, read ‘The Prince’ by Macchiavelli or ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu and that white book ‘How to be Number One’ or something like the 90’s group KLF. Do well in any job, don’t even think about this rubbish. At best, of course, he is a pathetic fool.

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