To represent the quality and the caliber of the songwriters and musicians on board with Alchemical Records is an honor without equal. The qualifications of being a part of Alchemical Records have thus far included being a decent person, the drive to move forward towards a commitment of providing an income through the art of pursuing your passion, top notch songwriting, and an engaging live performance. Yes, in that order. We’ve been fortunate to have artists that came on board with recordings in tow. We certainly have the capacity for recording opportunities for our artists, but the idea that you’re meeting a group of individuals that not only have amazing songwriting aptitude, but also producing and engineering skills (amongst other talents), is a testimony of the caliber of the artist, as well as the accessibility of the technology and community.
If music is your calling, and you’re not “taking advantage” of the situation that currently exists, shame on you. There are more bands, more music to listen to, more venues, more promoters, and the opportunity to get in front of more people that was ever imagined 50 years ago. Do I have exact figures? No. I’m winging it, but I have a gut feeling. I live and breathe this stuff.
Besides, I over exaggerate a million times a day.
Is there more competition today than ever before? Probably. There is certainly more “noise”, meaning places go to be entertained or distracted. Music doesn’t have a #1 place in entertainment anymore (though it is a healthy part of a balanced entertainment breakfast). Will it again? Maybe one day. If the people will it.
But. The test is always a test of time. How soon would you like to achieve success in your music career? Immediately? How long would you like it to last? For the rest of your life?
How exactly is the rule of equivalent exchange honored by that formula?
If this is the business you want in, get in now, but get in for life. Take stock in the advances and successes you’ve already made. Recognize the literal next step that you could take that has the potential to move you forward. Recognize the people in your life that support your efforts emotionally, spiritually, physically, or financially.
“Making it” is a myth. There is no one looking for you. If you want to be known you have to get out there, take chances, make mistakes, get messy!* Put your foot in your mouth once or twice, remove it, and start over again. Realize that the world is still turning. Then you can move forward a little more, and a little more, until you see another success realized, however small.
Be professional. Set standards for yourself, and for those you work with. Don’t hold grudges, but handle each situation in the manner it needs to be handled in according your standard practices.
Embrace personal connections as your number one priority. You’re in the friends business. Fans are a byproduct of personally connecting to individuals in the pursuit of honest to goodness friendship. A customer is anyone who supports you financially via a product that you are providing, regardless of friend or fan status.
Your goal as a business musician is to provide value to your customers.
Initial products are typically recordings and performances. Practice. Record something you would want to listen to. Be honest with how you sound, or with the sound you’re aspiring to represent. Don’t play a song in public before its time, but don’t let the fear of something new keep you from sharing it.
Venues and Promoters are partners. They should want to work with you, and offer advice on being more successful from their perspectives. Every venue, and every promoter has an angle, a way that they do business. Their way of doing business is not for everyone all the time. Their way of doing business is an opportunity and you can choose whether or not to accept it. You have the capacity to negotiate, but understand that everyone has a bottom line, and reasons why it is necessary to have a bottom line. It’s how they continue to stay in business.
Further products might be licensing your music, or receiving an income from recorded and public performance royalties through the various PROs (Performance Rights Organizations) that exist. If you consider a music director your customer, you’re doing well. If you treat your PRO like a customer you’re doing even better. How can you best serve these types of clients? Music Directors can be best served by providing them the music that meets the situation. PROs have registration and forms to file, and the service you are providing them is the knowing that the collection of funds on your behalf is not in vain.
That’s why the approach you have to contacting a venue, promoter, music director, or PRO, and the type of communication you have with them is so important. Some of the steps you take in order to follow the processes they have in place might seem arbitrary to you, but they’re not arbitrary to them. The reason they do business a certain way is usually from the years of experience they have from their side of the table, and you have to respect that. If you don’t they’ll do business with someone who will.