They shut the power off but they can’t stop the party

Wow, so I don’t know if any of you all heard about Kentucky getting KO’d by the winter ice storm, but after about a week with no power except in one area of my house (I was lucky), I finally got my power back up and working.

I’ll be honest, after the storm hit, I was freaking out because I didn’t know how I was going to get everything done that I needed to get done.  I had music marketing and networking conference calls to be on, but seemingly no place to charge a phone,  plans to write but no computers to write them on… blah blah blah.

That was until I stopped to think about it, I do this music stuff because I have fun doing it.

Honestly, thats what it’s all about, it’s all about having fun.  Sometimes we get caught up in the business aspect of music so much that we forget why we’re in the industry in the first place.

There was an artist the other day who approached one of my partners and I to buy his CD.  We got to talking a little bit about his presentation, and who he is.  Finally, my partner came out and said it “So, are you doing this cause you have a passion to make music, or is it because you want to make music?” to which the artist replied “I wanna make money.”

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make money from your passion, but we quickly told the artist we would be unable to help him.  Not because we can’t help artists make money, but because I can’t help people make money who are only in it for the money.

Here is what I have learned over the years, if you try to make money with something you don’t have a passion for, you’ll be discouraged quickly.  When all of your luck is down and your back is against the wall, sometimes a passion is the only drive you will have to propel you over the barriers.

Ask yourself if you’re having fun as an artist, because you always should.  This blog is a lot about the business, but its also about the lifestyle.  Being an independent artist is HARD!  There will be times when you get screwed over, when people turn their back on you, and when you feel like you can’t deal with chasing the dream anymore.  Its times like these when the passionate and the ones who are having fun survive.

Be fun, have energy, be passionate… thats part of how you make it happen.

-Eric Phillipson

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If Ya Scared Go to Church

What’s going on, everybody?

Its been over a week since I last posted, reason being that I was in Minnesota and now, my internet went out.  Ok, it didn’t just go out, the cable line to the house snapped due to the cold.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking A LOT about peoples reasons for not being go-getters, for not being grinders, for not chasing their dreams, for not taking their music seriously enough to make a business out of it.  Here is the conclusion that I’ve come to for why some people just get lazy:

THEY’RE SCARED!

Yep, simple as that.  People are afraid of having to pull the trigger on things.  Despite all of that tough talking a lot of artists do, they’re terrified.  I’m not saying that they’re terrified of the risk of going the entrepreneurial route, because too many people have talked about that, and entrepreneurship is a scary leap to take.  What I am talking about is the fact that many artists are afraid to talk to the big guys, they’re afraid to network.

Networking is scary if you don’t know who you are.  Thats why you should always know who you are and what you do.  Know what kind of music you play, what kind of audience you appeal to, and what makes you unique.  For example, if I am meeting someone new who I am trying to build a business relationship with here is how I’m going to start the initial conversation.

Me: Eric Phillipson, nice to meet you (hand shake)
Them: (insert name)
Me: What projects are you currently working on? (this keeps you from asking awkward questions like “so uhhh what do you do)
Them: Oh, I have such and such going on, getting ready to do so and so.  (This is where you look for something you can relate to)
Me: Nice nice,  I have a buddy getting into that, I’ll have to connect you sometime, let me get your contact info.
Them: Definitely, (insert contact info), so, what is it you do?

Boom, now depending on what that person said they have going on depends on how I pitch myself.  If they were an artist I’d tell them about the Speak Your Music side of me.  If they were a manager or DJ I might tell them about the branding side of what I do.

Here is a key about networking…

DON’T BE FAKE, LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING!

In that above example, before I contacted that person about anything that I do, I would make sure I plug them up with my contact who has similar interests.  You have to keep your word and stay true to your word.

Once you know who you are, dealing with the business people in the industry will not be scary, because you will have all of the answers to all of their questions.  People who are about business do not like to have their time wasted by others who don’t know what they’re talking about.  Be genuine, be true to your word, and you will be fine.

However, if you’re afraid of taking the leap, maybe this isn’t the industry for you.  Music business is very detail oriented if you’re doing it right.

Quick little side note, there is no such thing as “fashionably” late.  Being late is irritating, and I have seen many a artists lose out because they thought being late or not showing up was the right thing to do.

As always, appreciate ya, hit me up if you have any questions and I will do my best to address them!

-Eric Phillipson

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When You’re a Star…Everyone is Watching

The other evening a group I was going to work with went to the bar and put up a bar-tab of around $200 throughout the night. Buying drinks for people, trying to be flashy, etc. Cool, I guess. Then, they did something not only disrespectful, but career harming… they tipped the server $1.

First of all, if you’ve got the money to buy people drinks, but you can’t treat your server well, you’re fronting, you’re fake, and all around it makes you look bad.

Secondly, not tipping is mad disrespectful in and of itself. I know that bar prices are high, but you knew that what you went in, you knew what you were getting yourself into. If you weren’t about the high prices, why were you buying freeloaders some drinks?

Finally, why would you do something like that to your career? If you aren’t treating servers correctly, they are DEFINITELY not going to want you performing at the club. I mean if the group that is on stage is supposed to be “ballin” but they won’t tip, what does that say about the crowd they attract.

Image courtesy of www.savingadvice.com
Image courtesy of www.savingadvice.com

To build a successful career as an artist you have to realize you ARE your business. If you’re not tipping the servers, they have no incentive to keep you coming back, or the crowd you bring. If I’m a club owner, I’m going to choose the artist who makes me money and keeps my servers happy. Would you want servers coming up to you complaining about an act because they made no tips that night?

Needless to say, I will not be working with this group. I found out from one of the servers (I know her), that they did this. I let them know the error of their ways before I let them know I wouldn’t be working with them, so that they could fix it. But, the reality of the situation is that I do not work with disrespectful people. If you don’t have the money to tip, go somewhere you don’t need to tip. Simple as that.

This is ESPECIALLY important as a new artist, you NEED support from the servers and club owners in order to start doing shows.

As usual, I appreciate ya! Hope everyone is having a GREAT December as you gear up for an AMAZING New Year.

-Eric Phillipson

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It will never be perfect…

My bio says that I started in the music industry when I was 9 years old and would carry my uncle’s equipment.  What about my step into entrepreneurial music business?

I started a record label. Our mission was successful.  Take a town with little to no publicized hip-hop scene and turn it into a town where artists could get shows, media was calling, and fans were purchasing.  We stopped the record label around the time I moved so that artists and everyone involved could go their separate ways, but, I want to prove something here.

What right did I have to play expert and start a record label? Record labels take vast knowledge of the industry and up until that point I just knew how to market an artist (very well I might add).  The truth? I didn’t know what I was doing 100% of the time, all I had was a dream and an obtainable goal in mind.

There is never a perfect time to go for something, if you spend your life waiting until you’ve learned enough, or you’ve planned enough, you will never get anywhere.  I made plenty of mistakes along the way, I put money into things I didn’t necessarily need and purchased glossy flyers when matte would’ve done just fine.  I’m glad I did these things though, I learned greatly from them.  Running my record label gave me the knowledge to pay attention to every detail, delegate, and all around get things done.

But that doesn’t matter.  The most important thing that it taught me was this:

If you have a dream and you don’t pursue it NOW, you can’t expect it to come.

Will certain things not work out? Yes, and you make adjustments and carry on.  You can’t find out what works if you don’t learn what does not first.

If you want to work with someone, why are you waiting?  You should contact them as soon as possible! But, make sure you are networking properly, don’t just ask them to do something for you… that’s bad business. Want to release an album?  Why aren’t you working on it?  As an artist you’re never below anyone or anything, so long as you take action.

Do something for yourself today so you can make it count tomorrow.

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Thanksgiving reminds us that…

Every year, during Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of the importance of being humble.

If you’ve seen my article over at skemusic.com (Check it out here) you know my feelings on how being humble can increase an artists overall network, and the importance of being humble in this industry as a whole.

But why?

Continuing with the theme this week: It helps you relate to your fans on an individual level.  If you go around acting like you’re better than everyone, when the reality is your just fronting, the possibility of building a genuine fan base is going to greatly dwindle.

Though I don’t agree with the true historical context of Thanksgiving, I greatly appreciate the accepted overall message behind it. The message of reflection, of taking the time to acknowledge the things which you are thankful to have in your life.  A time where even the most egotistic people are humble.

Its important to remain humble.  I promise, if you remain humble in your socializing, you will receive greater praise for your accomplishments, and will no longer need to tell people to “get like you” rather they will tell you that they are trying to get to your level.  I prefer praise from outside my own psyche personally.

So with that being said, here is my official list.

50 Things I Am Thankful For:

  1. My Family
  2. My Friends
  3. My Team
  4. Having food of Thanksgiving
  5. My Network
  6. You
  7. Music
  8. Hip-Hop
  9. Culture
  10. Knowing my ancestry
  11. Being able to follow my dreams
  12. Having the ability to think on my own
  13. Being humble
  14. Having to work hard
  15. Belief in a higher-power
  16. Technology
  17. DJs
  18. Rappers
  19. Musicians
  20. Go-Getters
  21. Michigan
  22. The Midwest
  23. The negativity that keeps pushing me to be better
  24. Positive people
  25. Good health
  26. Having the opportunity to gain the experience I’ve gained in the music industry
  27. Education
  28. Moleskin notebooks
  29. Hoodies
  30. Sports
  31. My German Shepherd who keeps watch on my house
  32. Books
  33. Having the ability to travel
  34. Having been overseas
  35. Living in America…even though there are a lot of foul things that take place…its still a great country to live in.
  36. Having leadership skills
  37. Being a fairly good speaker
  38. Relaxation after working hard
  39. Big Brothers, Big Sisters & American Red Cross: Two organizations I volunteered for who truly care about the people they affect.
  40. Having shelter and clothing
  41. Koala Yummies (don’t ask, I’m old school)
  42. Lemonade stands as a kid, for teaching the foundations of business
  43. Teachers and Mentors
  44. Everyone who pushed me to do better
  45. The UP, eh?
  46. The ability to communicate instantly with people all over the world
  47. Sharing of ideas via mastermind groups
  48. Being able to give back
  49. Community
  50. Those people who strive to make the world better even when the odds are against them

Have a great and humble Thanksgiving!

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