How to Make It Big in the Music Business!


SESSION 1: HOW TO GET IN

PASSION: Artists discuss the passion and perseverance it takes to succeed. FINDING YOUR FIRST JOB: Music industry insiders and recording artists discuss the best way to get your foot in the door. ENTRY-LEVEL POSITIONS: Producers, artists and executives including Russell Simmons, Founder of Def Jam Records, and Monte Lipman, President of Universal Records, reveal how their first jobs led to big breaks and offer advice they have for people starting out. INTERNSHIPS: Jimmy Iovine, Kevin Black and others recommend becoming an intern. Working for free is a great way to gain knowledge and meet the right people. MAKING CONNECTIONS: former music industry assistants reveal how they turned acquaintances into allies and odd jobs into careers. WHAT IT TAKES: Execs and entrepreneurs provide inspirational advice on how to make it in the music business.

SESSION 2: WRITING THE SONG

ITíS ALL ABOUT THE SONG: Artists describe how they jumpstart the creative process. SONGWRITING: Sheryl Crow and others look to artists whose work they admire. They suggest studying the great songwriters to learn the components of a hit tune. INSPIRATION: Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Shep Crawford and many others explore how a raw idea becomes a finished lyric. COLLABORATING: Artists discuss the difficulties, compromises, and rewards of the collaborative process. FINDING YOUR VOICE: Artists stress the importance of finding your own, unique personal style or "voice." HEAVY ON THE HOOKS: Shaggy, Barry Gibb, Glen Ballard and Nelly discuss the importance of the "hook" and how to inject passion and energy into your music. DISCIPLINE: Artists stress the value and necessity of discipline in your songwriting process.

SESSION 3: MAKING THE DEMO

WHAT MAKES A GREAT DEMO?: Industry insiders and artists identify the most important qualities of a demo. SELECTING YOUR MATERIAL: Lava Records President, Jason Flom, and Nelly stress the importance of using your most original tracks to get industry attention. CAPTURING YOUR SOUND: MusicSessions faculty agree that a truly great sound comes from an ability to listen to your instincts. HOW RAW CAN IT BE?: Sheryl Crow, Tony Brown, and Darrin Dean dispel the myth that demos must have impeccable recording quality to get attention. HOME STUDIOS: Industry insiders praise the quality of homemade demos mixed with new digital technology like ProTools. BIG SOUND, SMALL BUDGETS: Our faculty suggest ways to keep demo costs reasonable. PACKAGING YOUR DEMO: Although pictures and packaging can help a demo get picked out of a pile, all industry execs agree that itís the music that matters.

SESSION 4: HOW TO GET A LABEL DEAL

BUZZ AND HOW TO BUILD IT: To start a buzz, artists and insiders emphasize promoting yourself by meeting the right people, pushing your music locally, and playing every gig youíre offered, regardless of size. LOCAL BUZZ = NATIONAL ATTENTION: A solid foundation of hometown fans and support is the best base for building larger, national notoriety. SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?: Tony Ferguson and other industry execs advise against relocating to a big city to try to get signed. INDIE VS. MAJOR LABELS: Both indie and major labels have their share of pros and cons. While a big label may have more money to invest in promotion, a smaller label may offer you more personal attention. HOW DEMOS GET SCREENED: Demo submissions are either solicited or unsolicited. Unsolicited demos are less likely to be heard. Jadakiss, Fred Durst, Sharon Osbourne and other insiders recommend forging a personal connection to a specific A&R person to ensure your demo gets screened. MEMORABLE SUBMISSIONS: Any tactic that will get your demo heard is worth a try. WHO GETS SIGNED: MusicSessions faculty explain the rarity of signing a true star. THE IMPORTANCE OF IMAGE: Image is essential. Like it or not, your presentation can influence a record companyís decision to sign you. THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT MISTAKES AND REJECTION: Insiders caution that you have to treat rejection as just another part of the process of getting a record deal.

SESSION 5: MAKING THE RIGHT DEAL

SIGN WITH CAUTION: Never rush into signing a record contract. Take the time to consider whether the label is right for you, and be sure to understand what youíre signing. HOW WELL SHOULD THE ARTISTS KNOW THE BUSINESS?: Artists like Elton John, Sting and others lament their lack of familiarity with the music business when starting out. They recommend learning the business and hiring capable lawyers and business managers to manage your affairs. THE RECORD DEAL: MusicSessions faculty describe the intricacies of the record deal, including the need to look at issues beyond the amount of an advance. ADVANCES: Artists Rob Zombie and Stewart Copeland explain the difference between recoupable and recoverable advances. ROYALTIES: Music attorney Don Passman and Universal Music Group President, Zach Horowitz, discuss different royalty structures. RECOUPING: Artists explain that a record deal is akin to a loan--the record company will eventually be repaid the cost of recording from the earnings on album sales. MUSIC PUBLISHING: THE CASH MACHINE: Defines the music publishing process from song composition, to publishing rights, to royalty payments. WHERE TO SPEND, WHERE TO SAVE: Artists and insiders offer a warning: avoid the temptation of extravagance--music is a business and frugal financial management is an important part of the business.

MODULE 6: BUILDING A TEAM

WHOíS ON YOUR SIDE?: MusicSessions faculty recommend finding an honest, reliable team of business managers and lawyers who will support you through thick and thin. MANAGERS: Avoid hiring friends or family as management to steer clear of serious personal complications--rather, select a manager based on references and previous clients. MANAGEMENT DEALS: A standard management deal usually asks for a 15-20% cut of earnings--but never agree to pay more than 20%. MUSIC LAWYERS: Good music lawyers are invaluable when negotiating a contract or trying to get your demo heard by important people. BANDING TOGETHER: Since money remains at the root of many band breakups, artists and insiders with experience, like Sting and Jimmy Iovine, recommend that groups tackle issues of profit sharing and rights long before meetings with record companies take place. CAN A BAND BE A DEMOCRACY?: In a word: No. According to Rob Zombie and others, there should only be one decision-maker in a group.

SESSION 7: INSIDE A RECORD COMPANY...
      WHO DOES WHAT AND WHAT COULD YOU DO?

INSIDE THE WAR ROOM: Industry insiders use warfare tactics to best describe their approach to breaking a new band or artist into the mainstream. A & R: By garnering the full support of every department in the label for a new artist, the Artist and Repertoire staff put their job on the line each time they sign new talent. PRODUCT MANAGEMENT: Ultimately the artistís manager within the record label, the product manager acts as a liaison between each department, ensuring the artistís marketing and promotional needs are met. MARKETING: Marketing staff determine the target audience for each artist and then promote the artistís record to that audience through any available channel. ART DEPARTMENT: The art department is responsible for the visual images associated with any artist, including publicity photographs and packaging design. PUBLICITY: As a liaison between the artist and the media, the publicist ensures that the artist is seen in a favorable light. PROMOTION: According to Kevin Black and other insiders, promoting a record is a multi-step process beginning with street level publicity and ending in national radio airplay. SALES AND DISTRIBUTION: In managing the shipments of records to retail stores, sales and distribution must accurately forecast market demand for new artist recordings.

SESSION 8: INSIDE THE RECORDING STUDIO

LIFE IN THE STUDIO: Although artists may be recording an already fine-tuned song in the studio, it can still be a place of innovation and creation. PRE-PRODUCTION: To save time and money, 3 Doors Down and Matt Serletic recommend planning before entering the studio. FEAR OF THE RED LIGHT: Enrique Iglesias and others warn that the psychology of the recording studio can be a serious roadblock to a successful studio session. THE ROLE OF THE PRODUCER: Elton John and Glen Ballard stress the importance of an open, cooperative artist-producer relationship to create the best possible song. DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRODUCERS: Producers vary by genre, role, method, and many other factors--but the primary job of any producer is to help the artist create the best song. RECORDING ENGINEERS: Chuck Reed, Scott Campbell and others describe the role of an engineer in capturing the sound the artist and producer are looking for. MIXING AND MASTERING: Mixing involves meshing and balancing the various tracks of a song--including drum beats, vocals, bass, and more--into one cohesive whole, while mastering involves selecting a song order and adding effects and EQ to the entire mix. KEEPING COSTS UNDER CONTROL: You can cut a quality record without breaking the bank--just be sure to arrive at the studio focused and prepared.

SESSION 9: GETTING YOUR MUSIC OUT THERE

PROMOTION--THE POWER OF RADIO: Radio remains the dominant medium through which people hear new music and become inspired to buy it. STREET TEAMS: Andy Gould, Kevin Liles, Russell Simmons and others discuss the value of fan-based promotion. TOURING: Touring can build a fan base, promote an album, even generate a profit--but it is also a grueling lifestyle that can threaten the strength of a band. MUSIC VIDEO: Rob Zombie and Stewart Copeland explain that though no other medium can reach as many people at once, music video can also be incredibly expensive and not as useful for certain types of groups. GETTING GOOD PRESS: Will Adams, Fred Durst, Lori Earl and others talk about the value of press as well as the need for artists to be cooperative. The bottom line is that interviews sell albums.

SESSION 10: THE FUTURE

CHANGES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: Bob Clearmountain, Tommy Mottola, Barry Gibb and others discuss the segmentation of the music market, the new wave of home recording, and the increased pace of industry changes. WORKING THE WEB: Roni Size, Fred Durst and others explain how the Internet allows bands to inexpensively self-promote and meet fans without any censorship or mediation from record companies. DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION: Zach Horowitz, Steve Stoute, Allen Grubman and others discuss the business implications of digital distribution. SECRETS FOR A LONG, HAPPY LIFE: MusicSessions faculty conclude the course by offering encouraging words of advice.

Break into the Music Business