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1. Your Songs Suck – Consumers will instantly click past a crappy song to thousands of online radio stations till they find a good song that really moves them in the first 10-20 seconds. You better have GREAT songs. It’s a CRAFT; it always has been. Treat is as such. You need to seek out a few mentors to teach you what they know about their CRAFT and apply your unique vision and perspective to that knowledge. Easy to do with all the online writing societies.
2. You’re Producing Yourself – Have you ever wondered why a record label would NEVER let you or your friends produce your own record? Have you ever wondered why most of the iconic Superstars STILL use producers? Why aren’t they saving money by producing themselves? Surely a producer at that level is pretty damn expensive! Get it? Just because you can work Pro-Tools or Logic doesn’t mean you can or should make a record. The label would put you with someone who is not only experienced at the entire process of making records, but a way better musician than you. The smart artist always thrives being around true pros that are better than them to soak in the education and grow to a new artistic level; fearless of the journey. Most artists will tell people why they can’t or won’t afford a producer and spend their money on their 25th guitar and new plug-ins for the home studio; avoiding the journey. Do you want to make great records or collect gear?
3. You’re Not Marketing…At ALL – Putting your music on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby, ReverbNation, etc. is digital distribution NOT marketing. Marketing is the art of influencing buying decisions. Having your CD available for purchase “wherever it’s sold” isn’t influencing buying decisions. Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Live Shows, Music Blogs, Indie Radio, Internet Radio, and PR are the marketing tools you need to master. These tools create awareness and drive traffic to your squeeze page where you get the consumer’s email address. It’s through their email that you will influence their buying decisions.
4. You’re Operating With An Out-Of-Date Business Model- You are still trying to cut cheap demos to shop to a record label to try to get a deal. You still think radio is the key to marketing your music. You still think that radio will be a powerful marketing tool when you do get your deal. You still think the labels make money selling records. You still think that if you get a deal that’s when you’ve made it. Wake up, that ship sailed a decade ago; you have to develop yourself, today.
5. You’re Not Thinking Like A Record Label – If you got signed today, the label would surround you with people that make a living writing songs, engineering, producing, doing public relations, marketing, promotion, booking bands, image consulting, Photographing, etc. All these people would be highly professional and much more dialed in to the market and process than you and your friends. If you’re thinking like a label, you are looking for a team of people to help you with at least some of these important items.
6. You’re Not Selling Your Music On Your Website – . If you were truly DRIVING traffic anywhere to purchase your music, you would drive them to YOUR site and take all the money. Everyone needs a presence on iTunes, CD Baby, Reverbnation, etc., but why on earth would u pay someone 30% of your record sales to do what you can do with a free plug in on your WordPress site? If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.
7. You’re Not Posting Regular Videos To YouTube – YouTube is your new Radio with an amazing potential for reaching millions, no wait…now BILLIONS of people and you don’t need to spend 1 million dollars to bribe a freaking Program Director for a CHANCE at getting a few spins. The “shelf space” is unlimited (Unlike radio) and they pay royalties and advertising revenue. “I don’t get it because I just want to make music” is a cop out. why aren’t you learning everything you need to learn about this amazing opportunity?
8. You Suck At Project Management – If Steve Jobs approached the first products from Apple the way most of you approach managing your musical projects he would have died homeless. Jobs was a true artist, the first computers he and Wozniak made looked good, worked good, were packaged well, and were made in his garage. Instead of making 500 crappy computers with the limited budget they had, he made 50 AWESOME computers and the market place responded; the opportunities that came from the first run of AWESOME computers provided the momentum they needed to reach the next level. If you want to find someone to cut your songs for $300/song, I PROMISE you will find them. Record your 3 BEST songs for the same price as what you have to spend on 12 and do it RIGHT with a TALENTED TEAM. It’s gonna cost money, so think of it as an education. Then watch the market respond!
9. You’re Waiting For Your “Big Break” – Deep down you wish it was the old music business because, on the outside (from the cheap seats) it seemed easier when the labels took care of everything. Well they did and you would have paid dearly for that “EZ Button”. I got news for you, the Superstar Artists that are still around today, never let the labels take care of everything. They worked smarter and harder than that in a sea of sharks. You have to create your own opportunities, your own momentum. There’s no way around it. Nobody gets “discovered” anymore so get off the couch, put the bong down next to your baggage and get to work!
10. You Still Think Record Labels Develop Talent – Record labels don’t develop talent like Coca-Cola doesn’t repair cars; they don’t care about your music, they care about your current cash flow, and how many fans you have a measurable connection with. They care about what kind of market you created for yourself and if they can make money by adding fuel to the fire you already started. Think YouTube and Google. Google didn’t develop YouTube, they purchased them. So those smart guys at YouTube had to PROVE their idea had value in the market place; so do you.
11. You Don’t Think Of Your Music As Product – Until you do, nobody is going to hear your art.
12. You’re Self Sabotaging – This is the most common and most destructive mistake of them all. Let me save you the suspense, you’re gonna make mistakes. You’re gonna hit speed bumps. You’re gonna be rejected. You’re gonna have to get over it! You have to get out of your own way and just move forward. Stop making excuses. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. PERIOD. So make a change and watch massive amounts of energy quickly flow your way.
13. You Are Too Sensitive To Take Constructive Criticism – You would be amazed how many of your favorite Superstars were brutally schooled by the label on their first record. They were green just like you! “Go back and write us a single we can promote on the radio or we’re gonna drop you”. If you’re too dumb to know that you don’t know, you’ll never make it. Be professional and LEARN. It’s always better to stay quiet in a room and appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
14. You’re Listening To Haters – When you do start to get momentum, people you don’t know and sadly, many that you do will spit poison into every part of your life. Get used to it. You are doing what they can’t.
15. You Haven’t Defined Your Lane – You are afraid to pick a genre because you write in many. Consumers need ONE lane to connect with you in. Just because you pick one doesn’t mean you are ignoring the others. Get some traction in 1 lane first, that will help expose a project in a different lane to more people. Think John Mayer with his first few pop records and then he did a blues project. That blues project got a TON of exposure because he was now John Mayer the pop star.
16. You’re Live Performance Sucks – Nothing is more disappointing than seeing a decent band with great songs and nobody sings background vocals; except for a crappy band with crappy songs, and everyone singing background vocals.
17. You’re Not Capitalizing On Your Live Performances – Today’s music market is about endless content and email addresses. You should have constant video footage to market on social media. You should have boatloads of email addresses after every show. You should be moving product from the stage at every show. You should be gaining twitter followers at every show…THEN you can get laid. J
18. You’re Putting Too Much Stock Into Your ReverbNation Ranking – A #1 ranking for your small town or big city on ReverbNation + $2.54 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. How are you getting paid for your songs?
19. You Don’t Know What You’re Doing On Twitter – Twitter is a simply amazing surgical marketing tool that allows you to SERIOUSLY target your specific market. When done correctly, your following will constantly grow. 1 year from now you could have well over 10k followers and now you have the means to drive tons of traffic to a squeeze page, or a YouTube video, or to….Get my point? Your fans are out there, go find them.
20. You Think It’s All About Music, Not Marketing – The truth is that it sure is nice when they expertly market a killer record, but if it was only about the music, there wouldn’t be any crappy songs on the radio. Think about that for a second. Without marketing, nobody cares about your music because they haven’t heard it.
So you think he/she cheated on you? Lets lay down the foundation to what "CHEATING" actually is and isn't. Also if you are gonna cheat...lets set the rules.
1. Its not cheating unless: #1 You live together #2 Are engaged #3 Are married... Anything else, no matter how long yal been "kickn it" doesnt count. It doesnt matter that you have had a "relationship" for 10 years. You should be married by then. If he or she hasnt put a ring on it after 3, 4, 5 years...then chances are they dont want to. People do what they want to do...dont ever forget that.
2. If you're going to cheat...Cheat up, Not down. So you're engaged, married, or you live with your partner but you're not happy. You decide to look elsewhere for happiness but you dont want to tell you're partner what you're doing. THATS CHEATING. Now theres rules to this shit. First off you're probably are gonna get caught. So you better cheat with someone you feel is better than what you have already. Not equal, better. Don't leave pizza for pizza. Leave pizza for Filet!
3. No side babies! So you're cheating but you dont wanna leave the person you're cheating on. Ok, cool. No side babies. You have Gabrielle Union at home and you love her. Dont have a baby with the side baddie under no circumstances.
4. Keep the side chick in the know. So the side chick is bad right? But you would never wife her right? Tell her! You must tell the side chick "we just having a good time, this is not or will never be serious, I have someone else". No such thing as a side wifey!
PART 1 PART 2 PART 3
Take a look at our most anticipated hip-hop albums of 2014.
Kendrick Lamar Even though MTV News crowned Kendrick Lamar the Hottest MC in the Game at the top of 2013, it was still impossible to predict just how much heat he'd bring in the following months. Still riding high off his major-label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city, K.Dot sent shockwaves through the industry by calling out his peers on Big Sean's "Control", shut down the BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher, opened for Kanye West and racked up an incredible seven Grammy nominations (including Best New Artist and Album of the Year). Now we wait to see how the Compton rapper will top his cinematic debut and continue to ruffle feathers in 2014. — Nadeska Alexis
Kanye West Yeezus pushed so far outside the boundaries of hip-hop that it left some fans pining for the soul-sampling Kanye West. But being experimental comes with the territory when you're a "rap god." The polarizing album still topped plenty of end-of-year album lists, and now 'Ye has plans in motion for another project that might satisfy his core fanbase. In December, Q-Tip confirmed that he and Rick Rubin would be co-producing West's upcoming LP, which signals a more hip-hop lean. Don't expect an abundance of tracks though, since Kanye plans to keep it minimal.
"I think my next album is going to be eight songs. It's just reducing down the amount of information that you need," he said during an Art Basel panel in Miami. — NA.
Schoolboy Q Cautionary rap fans may be looking for Schoolboy Q to pick up where Kendrick left off, but die-hards know the Black Hippy MC is his own man. Those expecting agood kid continuation need to check Q's previously released Setbacksand Habits & Contradictions to prepare for the February 25 release of Oxymoron. If singles "Collard Greens" and "Man of the Year" are any indication Schoolboy is setting up to teach a lesson or two. — Rob Markman
Rick Ross Rick Ross intended for his sixth solo LP to drop in 2013, but a true boss always sees the bigger picture. Rather than rush a release Rick Ross held Mastermind for the new year. And if his latest offering with Jay Z ("Devil is A Lie") is any indication ,it's going to be big. Not only does he plan to collaborate with soul music legend Bobby Womack, Ross also pays homage to the Notorious B.I.G. with a sampling of his classic "You're Nobody (Until Somebody Kills You)." — R.M.
Chance the Rapper In a year of blockbusters, Chance the Rapper'sAcid Rap mixtape made plenty of noise for standout production and insanely skilled rhymes. The 20-year-old Chicago native backed up big singles like "Juice" with raucous live shows (even opening for Eminem) and proved that he's not just an Internet celebrity. With plenty of independent success, Chance has opted not to ink a major label deal so far, but in a recent tour documentary he teased that his "Social Experiment" was coming soon. A full-length album in 2014, perhaps? — N.A.
Nicki Minaj Kendrick bruised egos this year when he declared himself "the King of New York," and while plenty of rappers fired back we're hoping that it's Nicki Minaj who actually comes to claim the rap crown for NYC in 2014. Nicki's previous albums were steeped in pop and dance music, but the Queens rapper is already recording her third LP and it sounds like bars will be on the menu.
"With the album, thank God, I've experienced so much in the last year and a half that there is so much for me to talk about and I know my fans are going to be excited about it," she told MTV News in November. Nicki proved once that she's a "Monster" with a verse that went down in rap history, and a whole album's worth of ferocious rhymes is certainly in the realm of possibility. — N.A.
Meek Mill Meek Mill has a good thing going. His Dreamchasersmixtape series have become the perfect set-up tool for his album release. September's Dreamchasers 3 featured potent street singles like "Dope Dealer" with Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross and "I'm Leanin'," so you can only imagine what his next LP is going to bring. — R.M.
T.I. Don't bother looking out forTrouble Man II, because Tip has scrapped the follow-up to his 2012 album and headed in a totally different direction. During an appearance on "RapFix Live," he confirmed that both the title and concept had been switched up. "Since we started working on the project, [it] has taken a different shape, I think we're going to postpone that title," he revealed in December. "We're gonna rework that. I got a couple of things in mind." T.I. explained that he'll still hold onto the material he recorded for Trouble Man II, but it just won't surface on his next solo project.
"All I'ma say is, it's gonna be a motion picture, it's gonna be a theatrical-worthy title," he added. "I'm thinking something like Trap Champion,Paperwork, but whatever it is the subtitle will be The Motion Picture." — N.A.
Nas If slow and steady wins the race, then Nas is in hip-hop's pole position. With an already storied catalog in place, the Queens rap icon scored major wins in 2012 withLife Is Good. Rather than hit 2013 with a follow-up, God's Son took his time and is now eyeing a 2014 release — if we're lucky. "I'm an open canvas, a clear canvas and an excited painter with a shaky hand," he told MTV News of his next album. "Not because of bad nerves, but because of excitement." — R.M.
Future Future had an eventful 2013. He hit the road with Drake, collaborated with Miley Cyrus and got engaged to Ciara. The Astronaut Kid even managed to drop a few singles of his own ("Sh--," "Honest" and "Real and True"), but when it came time to drop his sophomore LP Future pumped the brakes. There's no way Honest doesn't get a 2014 release. — R.M.