The Desk Where Dreams Go To Die

The Desk Where Dreams Go To Die

No interview today.  I apologize, I’m quite behind on interviews but I just wanted to write a bit about a disconnect I have been noticing with many of the musicians I know and have been working with in the last few months.  When you cold call someone who is the one of the gatekeepers to a musician’s success – what do you think their desk looks like?

What I’m about to say is pretty blunt and I apologize but let me spell is out for you- No one gives a damn about your band. I know, that’s awful and sure you can point to a bunch of fans but when it comes to people who are gatekeepers to success it is really one of the most true things I have ever typed.

Why is this? Well most gatekeepers (Club owners, booking agents, music managers, A&R executives, music supervisors etc) got into the business because they loved music. They came to be in whatever their position by being an assistant, some by starting some entrepreneurial venture and some by dumb luck.  Regardless of how they got there- as soon as they had spent several months or years in that position they began to listen to music in such large quantities that few of them are able to fully process and digest it.

People who filter large amounts of music are often overwhelmed with passionate people who can forget that said gatekeeper is running a business and has to make decisions based on the bottom line more than their love of music.  If the musicians they are talking to haven’t demonstrated that they can sell tickets or merchandise or albums – it is very rare that an executive will take a chance on an unknown commodity for love of the music alone.

Be aware of this when cold calling people – don’t take rejection personally. Dig through the people you know who have a relationship with the executive you are looking to contact and get referred. Make sure when you do this that the person referring you has a good relationship though otherwise you may be better off cold calling.  People respond to numbers.  You don’t want to call someone and try to convince them that your music sounds great – they’ve heard that far too often.  A much better tactic is to demonstrate that you have a viable product.  Something like – “We bring an average of x people to our shows” or “We sell x amount of tee shirts every night” or “We have gotten our music placed in these shows, films, commercials”.  With so much music out there it can really help to give people a tangible measure of your existing success to have them pause long enough to give your music a real in depth listen.

To this end your marketing materials are very important when reaching out to people who can help your career. They should be quick and to the point and highlight your achievements (no matter how humble) so they can get someone to pause long enough to live with your music.  I often find that artists tend to seek out lofty industry executives without having spent enough time trying to target and convert everyday people into fans.  It has been my experience that to get a gatekeeper to pay attention to a package that comes to them either unsolicited or from a chance meeting the best way is to provide them with proof (read: sales figures and statistics) that your music is viable to people who actually buy music, merch and tickets.

More soon,

Rick