K.I.S.S.

K.I.S.S. means Keep It Simple Stupid.

Sometimes we all get way too focused on all of the latest stuff that we never allow ourselves to actually make anything happen.  I remember when Myspace started getting big for artists and you had artists adding all of the latest widgets and gadgets that it completely bogged down their page and made it unnavigable.  You have to be careful about this in your music career as well.

There are tons of ways to market yourself, and you should try to use all of them.  But, the key is to create a system that allows for ease of use and simplicity.  Whenever you begin exploring a new avenue for music marketing and promotion you should be asking yourself “how can I fit this into my system?”

For example, their are tons of social media sites out there, there are also tools that allow you to update every single one of them at once, you should be utilizing these tools.  I use TubeMogul when I want to upload a video, this allows me to upload a single video and then it distributes that video across multiple video sites.

Keeping it simple does not mean that you avoid new things, it means make them work in a system.  Simplicity is best met when you use a team.  Running a team to perform tasks is much easier than trying to do everything by yourself.  But, how do you find a team?  My favorite place for teams when it comes to music is to find college students who have an interest in music business.  A lot of people get this wrong though, they think they can take college students as free work by saying they’ll gain experience.  Be real with them, give them real benefits, and do what you can to give them REAL rewards.  College students tend to have a strong work ethic which is why I like working with them.

Remember: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

-Eric “Fuse” Phillipson

PS.  You can catch me with DJ Fittd on 502FM.com today (Mon, May 10th) at 4PM EST.

Share

Being Humble as a New Artist

The following is an article I wrote for Street Knowledge Entertainment‘s Knowledge Blog.  It’s regarding the importance of being humble in the music industry.

——————————————

Being Humble as a New Artist
Eric Phillipson of SpeakYourMusic.com

New artist’s listen up! We need you! The industry needs you! You need you!  Over the years, through the declining industry, there is one trend that I’ve seen grow more and more.  That is the disappearance of the humble artist and the larger and larger presence of the big-ego artist.  It’s not that I don’t understand your swag or the fact that you’re the artist.  I get that.  What I don’t understand is all of the hating going on in the industry.

I can’t tell you how many artists I once worked with (keyword: once) who felt that they were above others when it came to certain promotional tactics or just working with some people.  Now I’m not talking about your somewhat established people, I’m talking about the ones who are trying to build a fan base or who are not yet making money off of this music they love (by the way, check out Q’s post on giving your music away for free).  These are the artists that need to come down, be humble, and take the “all promotion is good promotion” road.

Now being humble applies to many different things, these are what I’m going to cover:

  • Management
  • Promotion
  • Fans
  • Networking

The first one I want to talk about is management.  I see a lot of artists who hear that they should get a manager and then don’t even use them.  When someone wants to book a show, they give them their number or book the show themselves; they cut their “manager” out of all of their deals.  Don’t do that.  If you tell someone that they can be your manager, set up an agreement for compensation, and let them be your manager.  It’s aggravating when you’re told to manage someone so you put effort into them only to have them start cutting you out of the deals.  The being humble part comes into play just off of the simple fact that you need to trust your manager if you’re going to have one.  If you don’t trust them, get a new one.  Management is there to take a load off of you so you can focus on making music, and take yourself to the next level.

The next thing I want to talk about is being humble in the promotions you do.  I’ve seen brand new artists, who had no buzz in an area, who were not willing to go out and hand out CD’s or hang up fliers for a few hours during a late-night promo run. That has to stop!  If you have no buzz, you need to pull all stops and get out there and get yourself a name until you get to the point where you can hire street team help to handle that for you.  I know there are tons of artists who feel that lying about their fan base will bring in more fans or add to their swag; it won’t. If you know you have no buzz in an area, be honest with yourself and get out there!  If people haven’t heard of you at all, they will be more willing to listen to you if you’re actually out there rather than having someone else out there trying to pitch your music.

The fans! Answer every single one of them.  Even something as simple as “thank you” is perfect.  I’m talking to the people who get the MySpace messages or the Emails or have a few people come up to them after a show.  Not the ones who have mobs of people coming up to you.  There are too many artists who get sidetracked and read messages from fans without ever replying.  You’d be surprised how much fans are willing to promote artists who are willing to recognize them.   By the way, make sure people who receive your CD’s during handouts can contact you!  Just set up a “fan” Email address and slip it inside of your CD’s so that fans can contact you.  Fan mail is always a rewarding feeling.

The final aspect of being humble that I want to talk about is being humble while networking.  I’ve known some artists who don’t give others who are trying to come up the time of day.  I’m not even talking about on an artist level either.  Don’t always try to network with bigger people, sometimes networking with others who are trying to come up will work wonders for you.  Be sure to network with people coming up in other aspects of the entertainment industry, not just music.  For example, network with new clothing companies, people breaking into acting, graphic artists, TV people, people who are trying to start their own next big website, people who are trying to break into radio, etc.  Some of these people are bound to do great things, and even those who don’t become huge will still be willing to help as long as you can help them.  Plus, these people would love for you to support their new ventures and it always looks good when you are sponsored by someone.

In the end, being humble as a new artist can take you far.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some fake people out there who will try to take advantage of you, just always be sure to check your ego and remain a humble person,  you never know who you might meet because of it.

——————————————

Be sure to check out Street Knowledge Entertainment home to Philly based artist Trel Mack.

-Eric Phillipson

Share

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

Share

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

Share