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Monday, October 27, 2014

My Russell Wilson moment

Cleaned out my email and had a Russell Wilson moment. About a year ago one particular venue in Chicago responded to my booking email by saying: "thanks for your inquiry I'd be interested in booking Q Dot. We don't book hip hop much here but upon reading your bio and checking your facebook and listening to your tunes you're not like most of the 'rap' we get in our email which is refreshing but my concern is your style isn't what our crowd expects from a rapper. let me know your thoughts on this." 

I missed this email all together at the time ... But what I gather is because I'm an educated, family oriented black guy who also plays an instrument who doesn't do drugs and doesn't run around flashing guns and money but I  wear my jeans around my waist with my shirts buttoned and my hats facing forward I'm not "what your crowd expects" of a black guy. 

Great to know that I'm doing my part by just being myself I'm impacting the way people view Black men - including other black men. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why has no album gone platinum this year?

So no album other than the Frozen soundtrack has gone platinum this year. I'm not surprised.

It also doesn't surprise me as to why this is and it has nothing to do with the music of this generation being bad or people just not buying music anymore.

It has to do with consumers vs customers and the culture around it. 

People don't want to own music anymore they want access to all of it. Spotify subscribers have risen at a rapid pace since launching. Youtube is still the #1 music search engine in the world and platforms like Pandora, Soundcloud, rdio and iheart radio only add to the plethora of options to consume and not own.

15 years ago Napster was cementing itself as the boogie man to the music business but just a few years before that, the music business was in the middle of a golden era of churning out platinum record after platinum record. Why? Because when your options are limited to how you can obtain music that's just how ya get it. Ya had to get your butt down to the record store and buy it.

Also contributing to this is that more bands than ever are touring. 10 years ago the number of independent touring bands was nothing like it is today and when you tour you sell your merch direct to fans including CDs...that said I wouldn't be surprised if there was a touring act who's sold a million on the road it's just that even though there is a mechanism that will track sales at shows through soundscan most artists don't use it.

How do we fix this? We don't. We change our stance on what the music business is and what it will be going forward. The old business model is out - the name of the game is consumption and he or she who can make the consuming audience consume more of their brand will win. Music business fundamentals will win out where deep pockets can't: strong touring, consistent growth and visibility in your touring markets and a strong online presence will sustain careers. New media platforms like Internet radio will play as discovery tools and the new superstar musicians will be equal parts marketing expert, content creator and brand manager as they are musician. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

4 things confirmed from touring

I get asked all the time about touring and what it's like and how to get going on the road. After hitting the road the better part of the last two years zig-zagging the country here's what I know to be true about the almighty touring.

1. It is ALL and it is MIGHTY when it comes to your career. If you want a career in music you're going to HAVE to get out on the road at some point.

2. Have realistic expectations. If it's your first time in a city don't expect a great turnout even if you have great local support and a ton of exposure rolling. #3 explains why.

3. Exposure for as vital as it is to your career only does one thing and one thing only. That is to introduce people to your music - it doesn't make fans. Think of it this way: The first time you meet someone of the opposite sex you may find things appealing about them but you're very seldom smitten off of an initial encounter. That video and that song on the radio is important and needed,  may even start watching more of that artists work but it isn't until you get to know them that suddenly you find yourself making a decision on whether you're really into them or not.

4. You need grit to do this and a lot of grit to progress. Grit can be described as stamina, endurance, perseverance, optimism, work ethic, determination, a relentless effort and highly intensified focus on reaching a goal.