We all make mistakes, but mistakes in the music business can cost you. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, highly followed blogger and music analyst Bob Lefsetz, famous for being grateful to no one and speaking the truth, shared his view on the current and future status of the music business, what you should look out for in the coming years, and the 5 mistakes you should avoid starting out in your music career.
Mistake #1 – Believing that publicity/marketing is more important than music.
According to Lefsetz, you (as the artist) will have more “power” in the coming future; however, your career will still be guided by businessmen ($). Leverage their experience with your talent. Publicity/marketing are short term, your music is long term.
Mistake #2 – Believing a record deal will solve your problems and ensure success.
Major labels will continue to decline and Live Nation– the leading live entertainment and E-commerce company, will continue to grow! In regard to what medium will be the most effective in getting new music out to your audience, Lefsetz believes a “trusted filter that tells people what to listen to,” will be the next big thing to trump other current forms of radio (i.e. satelLite, Pandora, etc.).
Mistake #3 – Believing that because your parents and friends like you, everybody else will.
We have all heard the phrase “a face only a mother could love.” Well, unfortunately, the same can be applied to your music – “a band only your mother/friends could love.” Their opinion is obviously biased, and that could hurt you while searching for some raw truth as an artist.
Mistake #4 – Believing success usually happens overnight.
Sorry, it doesn’t! Next time you’re dining in Hollywood, just ask your server how long he has been trying to get his/her “big break.” It takes hard work, commitment, passion, perseverance, and of course – knowing the right people never hurts.
Mistake #5 – Believing anything that happened in the past still applies.
Remember when MTV used to actually be about music and play music videos? Now it’s just reality TV entertainment with the likes of Jersey Shore and teens getting preggers and fighting with their “non-significant” others. Things have undoubtedly changed! Get with the times, be on top of current trends, and stay ahead of the wave!
When it comes to the relationship between major labels and the growth of an artist’s career/popularity, Lefsetz explains that success may actually depend more on the ingenuity of the businesspeople (i.e. managers) involved rather than the raw talent an artist possesses. Furthermore, it will be up to the manager to find a way to monetize an artist’s popularity and fan-base, while letting the artist do what they do best – perform and create.
And who does Lefsetz believe are the executives or companies best positioned to be successful in the music industry of the future?
1. Ian Rogers. His company Topspin allows acts to monetize their efforts.
2. Marc Geiger. “He understands the new game, he realizes it’s not about protecting the old as much as exploring the new”.
3. Live Nation. Because of its investment in Ticketmaster.
4. Don Strasburg. VP and senior talent buyer for AEG Live Rocky Mountains .
5. Richard Russell at XL. “He knows that a quality recording trumps everything” (i.e. think Adele).
Share your thoughts, what do you think the future hold for the music business, and what pitfalls should new artist avoid to ensure success in their career?