How to Succeed in the Music Industry
Bruce Edwin is founding CEO of the A-list firm Starpower Management LLC, publisher and creator of The Hollywood Sentinel, and producer of motion picture. His services, based on his years of expertise and success in the music and film industry are sought out and used by some of the most powerful companies and stars in entertainment.
Bruce Edwin published subnormal magazine in the 1990's, whereby he interviewed many rock stars including Marilyn Manson, Sonic Youth, Bauhaus, The Deftones, The Go Go's and many, many more. He booked numerous bands on nation wide tours, often touring himself across country as road manager, selling subnormal magazine city by city, gig by gig. He managed Michael Jackson guitarist David Williams, who played on the biggest hits in the world including Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean, and sadly attended both David and Michael's repass and funeral during the same year. Bruce got kill hannah signed to Atlantic Records who went on to tour the world multiple times. Bruce had the pleasure to meet one of his favorite bands; Sonic Youth- also in the 90's, who put him in touch with their record label at the time, David Geffen Company, which led to subnormal and Bruce Edwin working with every major record label in the world in the 90's, before the first wave of their conglomerations.
This article series, a precursor to Bruce Edwin's upcoming book series, is his way of giving back to models, actors and bands, with knowledge, that in its totality and with its unabashed honesty cannot not be found anywhere else, for free. Whether you want to be a famous model, actor, singer, director, producer, or similar, the following advice will help you in most any chosen area of entertainment.
How to Succeed in the Music Industry
1. Don't do business on Social Media. When soliciting a model and talent agent, manager, producer, or casting director, do so privately, by e-mail or phone call, and address them by their name. If you are 'friends' with them on FaceBook for example, do not ask publicly in front of everyone on the 'wall' for them to hear your material. One musician did this to me not long ago, then started arguing with me when I told her how it would not play for me, telling me how it played for others. in philosophy, this is called the bandwagon technique. I tell you, "Look, it is good to jump off a cliff! See?! All of these other people are doing it, so you should too!" I don't care how many people this person's material played for, it didn't for me, and I asked for it to be sent to me in a different manner. She began grandstanding in front of her 'friends' and my 'friends' about the situation using the bandwagon technique, trying to make me look wrong. At this, she not only did not get me to hear her music, she got un-friended.
2. Have a website with your music on it. Always have content on your website that plays correctly and via all platforms you use to promote it. And if for some reason it does not play for the agent, manager, producer, or casting director, don't make excuses and tell them that 'it plays for everyone else' or that type of line. Simply do whatever it takes to get them the material fast and efficiently for them, that does play, with no blame, and no excuses. Instead of FB, go through the method of e-mail for a submittal, after a phone call. Only use FB to warm up and open up an introduction on another line of communication such as phone or in person. The same goes for any other social media line. Don't do business via social media. Only use it to get the connection, strengthen the connection, and then migrate the communication of that connection to another more viable business communication line such as e-mail, phone, or in person.
3. Promote yourself on all appropriate outlets. In addition to a website with your music on it, you should also be on You Tube, Sound Cloud, Reverb Nation, Twitter, and yes FaceBook among more. And, you must actively promote yourself. These days, labels want to see a strong social media following to know that you can draw a decent crowd to see you live and buy your record and downloads. MySpace used to be hugely relevant to the music industry. After it started flooding users with unwanted and annoying advertising that slowed the site to a crawl, the sites popularity crashed. They then came back and did the nasty move of deleting people's contacts, and after that insane move, no rock or pop star on their board in the world will redeem them. As a result, most consider them, as do I, useless. These days, the above mentioned sites and a few others are more important to a band.
4. Name names. I have stated this many times before, and it needs stated again. Always address the name of the person you want to hear your work. If I get in a mass e-mail without addressing my name from an un-signed band, talent, or even screenwriter, I typically delete it. Find out the name of the person you are submitting to, and use it.
5. Ask, don't tell. No, this has nothing to do with sexual orientation, it has to do with manners. If you want a label, booker, promoter, agent, or manager to hear something, ask us, don't tell us. I have mentioned this over and over, but it also needs stated again, as people keep doing it. Those who can do something for your career are not going to take orders from you and listen to your music or anything else because you told them to. They might, if you are fortunate 'if' you ask them, and ask politely.
6. Follow up. Don't consider that just because you sent something, even if someone said they would look or listen, that your job is done. It has actually just now started. You now have to follow up. I have actually had people who wanted me to sign them solicit me, get my agreement to look or listen, and then get mad because I did not call them back. If someone can do something for your career, you generally need them more than they need you. So, go out of your way and follow up, and don't expect them to. You're the one that needs signed, not them. They are already in business. So if a band is too lazy, incompetent, or too arrogant to persist asking, they could care less.
How to Get the Attention of a Talent Manager or Agent
The best way to get the attention of an agent or manager, is to send a nice cover letter to their e-mail, using their name, asking of they will please listen to one of your songs. Then include a You Tube link to your best song, ideally a great video or concert footage, however good sound quality is more important than a video. Include your direct number in the letter that you will answer, and then ask them if they will please call you. Then, follow up with them politely, in about five days. Check in with them around once a month with new material as you produce it, that is your best, in the same method. Always be cordial and polite. If you are in their same town, offer to pay for their parking, buy them a drink, and give them two free tickets to see you. Most agent or manager is not going to buy a ticket to see a band to consider signing them. If you throw them a few perks, they just might attend if you are polite enough. However, you should start with the letter and link as mentioned above.
To read the read the next items on this list; numbers 7 through 10, visit The Hollywood Sentinel at the link below and go to the table of contents tab on the left of the screen and click on the story How to Succeed In Hollywood. I hope this has helped many of you. As always, you are invited to contact me below with any questions that you may want answered that you have not found here. Also, be sure to check out the other articles of this series in the Archives section of The Hollywood Sentinel, going to the left of the page at the Table of Contents, clicking on Archives, and then exploring all of the back issues and the How to Succeed In Hollywood Series on that site.
This story is ©2013, 2014, The Hollywood Sentinel, Bruce Edwin, all world rights reserved. The office of Bruce Edwin, The Hollywood Sentinel, and affiliates do not endorse any advertising that may appear on or in connection with this story.
Bruce Edwin is editor of The Hollywood Sentinel and President of Starpower Management, the celebrity model and talent firm. Contact Bruce at www.TheHollywoodSentinel.com. Read more stories by Bruce Edwin.
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